We live in a time when we are questioning a lot of societal norms and habits and breaking them for the good and safety of our fellow people. This is so awesome, and I would like to remind you all that at this very stressful time of year that you can choose how to spend your time. If your mind immediately sped to “but my family would be so disappointed if I wasn’t there!!!” hear me out. I have three short motivational statements that I would like to share to help make your lives happier.
- You can do what makes you happy and if people love you they should support you doing those things.
I haven’t been home for Christmas since 2007 and for Thanksgiving since 2004. I love having my own tree, my own food, and not being surrounded by a million people. This makes me happy. Not having to cater to other people outside of buying them thoughtful gifts makes me happy. If being alone or spending Thanksgiving and Christmas with just your immediate family and not going anywhere sounds AMAZING to you and might make you happy, TRY IT. DO IT. If your extended family loves you and cares about you, they will celebrate your new tradition or be excited that you are finding happiness.
2. Family isn’t always blood. Family is made up of people whom you love and who support you and build you up.
This is especially important if your family is abusive (physically or verbally) or offensive. Who can you spend this time of year with that will help you celebrate? Make you feel loved? There are enough obligations that we have to fulfill in our jobs and daily lives that spending Thanksgiving with racist uncle Joe should be one that is okay to forgo. It’s a difficult connection to break, but once you do and make these times of year about giving and love for yourself and the people you care about and that care about you, you will be much happier.
3. Self-care is not selfishness. I mean, it is, but “selfish” has such negative connotations to it.
Something people don’t talk about around this time of year is the idea that Americans as a whole don’t get a lot of paid leave away from work. I am a teacher by trade so I get the same holidays as the kids except for the summers since I teach through those too. If you only get Thanksgiving and Christmas off from your job, why not spend those days actually relaxing and resting and doing things you enjoy rather than spending them with people you don’t like and settling for foods and traditions that don’t speak to you? I’m dead serious about this. We get so little time, spend it doing what makes you happy. Spend it giving back with your time or your money, spend it with your kids, spend it by yourself with your phone turned off and Netflix wondering if you are still there (yes, Netflix, now play the next episode of The Crown you judgy motherfucker).
Some other great videos and articles to help you embrace and own your holidays:
From The Enlightenment, an amazing online publication you should definitely check out:
I understand that not everyone can make these choices. I understand the exceptions. But if you have the power and freedom to do this for yourself, know that it has been done and it will lift a multitude of weights from your shoulder.
Stay safe out there.