BAM! ZAP! THWAK! Holy holidays, Batman! I flipped on the boob tube Halloween afternoon and what flashed across the screen? Christmas commercials – already!?!
I’m all for boosting GNP, but do I have to fight the holiday blues this soon? For many of us, this premature, picture-perfect presentation of hyped-up-happy times is either irritating as hell, or downright painful. Surely I’m not alone in feeling this way!
Once again, we’ll be served up a constant cup of idyllic imagery from now until New Year’s. Likewise, romantic life. And when reality doesn’t stack up?
Speaking for myself, all this personal packaging pressure makes me feel lousy. What is implicitly required is money, scads of friends and family, and an exclusive loved one. So could someone adopt me please? (Christian Louboutin, could you adopt me? I’ve been patiently waiting for months. Where’s the tie-up??)
While we’re at it, have I overlooked the money tree in the thicket of brambles and weeds I call a yard? Perhaps I only need to toddle outside and harvest those fifties dangling in the autumn breeze? My alternative? Re-gifting à la Seinfeld, which makes holidays on a budget sooooo much easier!
Third floor lingerie? No, no, no! I was crowded into this elevator headed up to the Romance Department! What’s gone wrong? It’s the time of year when you must be in a cozy couple, right? Because one is the loneliest number?
As for lover’s laps in the dating pool, I’ve had my sparks, possibilities, and a few long swims. But then reality intrudes (kids, worries, logistics) and holiday romance (or the elusive love machine) scampers out of reach like those damn critters making noises in my attic.
Comparisons are pointless
Seriously – the temperature drops and I wonder (again) if I could have done something differently all those years ago, somehow sustained a home – even if it was based on illusion. I know that comparisons to days gone by (pre-divorce, or childhood) are pointless. It’s that sneaky single parent guilt that repeats like a bad meal, especially when holidays approach.
Looking back isn’t an answer. I need to focus on now, and besides, I genuinely like this “me” much more than the shadow of those other, illusory selves. But grappling with daily worries can color everything, particularly when we’re clobbered by so many year-end expectations.
How can we fight the dark side of solitude, as we slide so quickly into Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s?
Maybe this is the ideal moment to join that online dating site, however imperfect a method to meet-and-greet. (Many internet dating services offer a free trial period which doesn’t hurt.) Getting out to a coffee shop or book store, taking a walk and saying hello to your neighbors if you haven’t in awhile – even dancing wildly around the kitchen to your favorite music can help. (Make sure the kids aren’t watching; they may have you hauled off and that kind of company isn’t ideal for wintry scenes of domestic delight.)
My ultimate six tips to beat holiday blues:
Easing loneliness is about getting off the island. It’s about interacting with the world – in person, on the phone, even online.
If all else fails, my cheaper-by-the-half-dozen holiday survival kit:
- 3 friends on speed dial, regardless of location
- 3 favorite drink mixes, for uplifting the spirit
- 3 hot hot hot movies (the sexier the better)
- 6 great books – thrillers, literary novels, poetry, whatever
- 1 pair of knock-out shoes, just in case…
- 1 good man to call, even if a friend and you chat about kids
Talking to myself (mutter mutter, tap tap)
Yes, this constitutes giving myself a good talking-to. Those commercials on Saturday ignited a slippery string of memories, and a jolt of panic that “that” time of year was here already.
Few of us have the picture-perfect situation we see on television, or carry in our mind’s eye. Family comes in all flavors, and media doesn’t reflect the reality of millions of lives. As for being alone, or feeling lonely, both are part of being human. Sometimes loneliness is awful. It’s also very common. So I say – grab those dancing shoes, and be ready. There may be something – or someone – just around the next corner. And if you can’t decide on which shoes to pick up your spirits – make them red – to fight the blues!