I’ve had my share of being alone during the holidays.
After my divorce, living in Detroit, 1400 miles away from my immediate family, I spent plenty of Thanksgivings alone. And truthfully, it’s not that bad.
Yesterday, I spent the morning by myself. So even though this one was not spent alone, being without Annika gave me a bit of that feeling early on in the day.
I took a long walk early in the morning. I’ve done this on most holidays when I was alone. I love it because the streets are desolated. Walking the empty streets gives you a true sense of the world. The sky seems bluer than usual. The air feels crisper. Wildlife sounds aren’t masked by too much traffic. Bird songs are sweeter.
It’s a little like being out in the country, or in a sci-fi movie where everyone has been killed off by an alien virus, only you’re immune to it and you’re left to wander the earth by yourself. At least, that’s my favorite scenario. I suppose the first one would be preferable to most people.
If you have to be alone on a holiday, I think Thanksgiving is the best one to do by yourself. Christmas sucks because you can’t exactly give yourself presents. But if you want to, you can gorge on a huge meal and fall asleep in front of the TV by yourself.
On past holidays that I’ve spent alone, I never cooked a traditional Thanksgiving meal for myself, but I always made sure that I had a favorite food handy and something to do, even if all I did was watch movies all day.
So yesterday I spent half of the day alone, pondering a world where I might wonder if I’d ever see another human alive, baking a pie, making some side dishes, and listening to the blues. There’s something about listening to the blues that makes being alone seem deep and meaningful. It helps change loneliness to solitude.
In the afternoon I went over to my parents house where my two brothers and one sister-in-law were hanging out with my parents. My older brother had brought some friends. We laughed and drank and ate a shitload. Then I went to my brother’s house for more drinks and we channel-surfed and drank more wine. It was a fun day, all-in-all.
It wasn’t better or worse than being with Annika, just different. It felt more like holidays pre-motherhood.
So, would I choose to be alone on a holiday? Not really. But I’m sure this one is not the last where I will be missing Annika and hoping she’s having fun with her other family. But it’s good to know that I have the skills to get through it on my own.
In fact, not only do I have the skills to make it through a holiday alone. I have decided to look forward to them. Perhaps the next one will be spent going to the movies. Or maybe I’ll try real camping next time. Either way, I think that I’ll do my best to enjoy my holidays no matter who I’m with. After all, that’s what they’re for.
How do you like to spend holidays? What’s your favorite thing? The hustle and the bustle, or the afterglow, where everyone is fat from food and ready for a nap?