It’s not even Thanksgiving and you’re already dreading the holidays. You feel the all too familiar pressure of trying to be jolly as a wave of sadness fills your heart. You can't help but think, “Oh please not another holiday without someone to love at my side!”
Here it is again, another year has passed and you’re alone.
But actually, you’re not.
They’re 28 million single women over 35 in the US and many of them are feeling just like you. They’re hearts are heavy at the thought of what’s coming.
You may relate to my client Sammie. Sammie's 45 and she is dreading going to her family gathering this year, once again, without a partner at her side. Of her 4 siblings, she’s only one single and without children. To her dismay, every year her parent’s house is filled with more children and less adults.
She knows her family is sensitive to her situation, each person has their own opinion as to why she is alone year after year.
Whether they feel embarrassed for her or even compassion, none of it feels good. What hurts the most is that they think she must be doing something wrong, that somehow she's to blame for being single and alone this long.
When she asked me to help her prepare to see her family this holiday, I really felt for her. She has been dreading the holidays for over 25 years, always hoping for different experience.
So I asked her, “What if you didn’t spend the holidays with your family this year?”
There was a long silence. I felt her struggling to wrap her mind around my question. Then I heard her sigh, “I can’t do that; it’s a family tradition. Everyone comes no matter what. There’s no way I can miss the holidays with my family, it’s a tradition.”
“Why can’t you start your own tradition? Why can’t you celebrate the holiday in your own way, for yourself? If you could choose anything, what would you want to do this season?”
“If I could, and this is crazy, but I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii. I would even go alone; I just know it would be wonderful. But I can’t do that, everyone would hate me!”
“Even if that’s true, how would you feel about yourself?”
“I’d feel guilty. But really, I think I’d feel good, I’d feel free.”
I told her to give it some thought; after all it’s a big decision. It’s not easy to make your desires a priority over everyone else.
Tradition is a wonderful thing, but it shouldn’t be a life sentence. We all need some flexibility.
Is it time for you to create a holiday season for yourself, one that you want? One you don’t dread but you actually look forward to?
As for Sammie, I have the feeling Hawaii is going to win out this year.