Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The No-Stress Turkey Day

When I would go home for the holidays for the first four or so years after college, I was a bit of a mess.  One Christmas two years ago I was newly laid-off and cried for two weeks straight. Not only was I miserable, but I made everyone else around me sad. I've wasted too much precious time spent with my family picking fights and acting like the typical high-strung big sister and daughter I've always been.

This year was markedly different.  It was the first Thanksgiving I've gone back to Michigan since I've lived in Los Angeles.  And maybe because I knew I was only going to be there for 72 hours, I managed to forget about the fact that I'm in the middle of finals and go with the flow.  I had no agenda, which was a first.  There was no Black Friday shopping that needed to be done, nobody outside the family I needed to see, and nothing I had to do that couldn't be left until Sunday morning when I got back to LA. 

My mother, in particular, noticed how unstressed I was for almost three days. My demeanor changed instantly about two hours before I had to head back to the airport and she noticed that too (for better or worse, exactly what I'm thinking and feeling is written all over my face).  It was nice to not be expected to help with Thanksgiving dinner or worry about what I was wearing or who I was seeing.  Having my whole family in one place was indeed a blessing, and I'm grateful I was able to get out of my own way and really enjoy everyone's company, even if it was only for a few days. 

I also find the holidays the hardest time of the year to be single.  I loved traveling at Christmas with my boyfriend in college and at nearly thirty, there's always part of me that's sad to go home alone AGAIN.  It's easier to not have a 'plus one' because I can do exactly what I want and spend as much time with my family as possible, but all those damn jewelry commercials and smitten couples all over the place? It will definitely be nice one day to have someone to introduce to my parents, wake up with on Christmas morning and keep me company on the airplane. 

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