About a week ago I wanted to write a piece about how a single girl navigates the holiday. Having been semi-single around this time of year last year (for the first time in my adult life) I somehow felt like the premiere expert in the whole “single during the holidays” situation.
For the record I was trying to be positive about my current relationship status. While the rest of my friends travel, get married, and having babies I am trying to embrace these (hopefully) last years of my late twenties enjoying things married couples and parents don’t. There are things like long hot showers, extended naps during the weekends and the general not having to confer with anyone about my plans or purchases that just feels good. I don’t mind being single, it has it’s benefits and moments where I feel uniquely empowered by the strong, independent female I have become over time.
… then the holiday season comes and it’s like the volume of being single amps up. Cue lights, cue music, cue cute couples ice skating and kissing under mistletoe. Holiday parties with offers of a +1 and family get together’s where someone is bound to ask why you haven’t settled down. Of course there are ways to survive this, there are undoubtedly articles outlining how a single person can make it through the dreaded holiday’s and into the New Year where the promise of eventually finding love always shines brightest. I wanted to be one of those people who writes those articles, declaring boldly that I am single and I can totally make it through cuffing season – no problem!
But that would be a lie. For me to sit here and pretend that getting through the unbearable festivities that constitute the holidays while being single is a breeze, would be a gross misrepresentation of the truth. I want to be proudly single, but honestly in this moment it sucks.
I keep thinking it’s just me, but I know it’s not. I don’t want to think that I’m the only one who hates being single during this time of year, and worse, that I care at all about my singleness. But I do and this time of year it becomes even more obvious and down right lonely.
I should say that personally I am probably more lonely due to the fact that my life literally consist of work, commuting, sleep, and then more work. If you call that a “life” than yes, I am pretty busy. And yes, the time to focus solely on my career is the best part of being single but during the most romantic part of the year it feels hallow without anyone to share it with. The good days aren’t made any better when there’s no one to cheer you on and the bad days aren’t any better when there’s no one to cheer you up.
I tried to make the best of things. I hung up Christmas lights around my room and treated myself to a fairly pricey new pair of flannel Christmas sheets, adding a tree scented candle and a tiny live tree on my night stand I found from Trader Joes. Even reading it back now it sounds like a desperate attempt at making a lonely situation marginally easier. You know what does help? Eating my feeling in the form of pastries, pies, and cookies that happen to be so plentiful through the myriad of office gatherings and potlucks. I shovel down as many frosted holiday treats down my throat as possible, taking solace in ever carb and ignoring my expanding waistline because hey – who cares right?
And the engagements…. don’t get me started on the engagements. Photo after photo of hashtags and ring pictures give me so much anxiety I’ve decided this year to just stay off social media, which instead of making me feel better has made me feel even more disconnected from the happiness I’ve convinced myself everyone else is feeling.
The truth is there is no survival guide for making it through the holidays for anyone. The pressure and the stress of getting through December without losing your shit isn’t just a #singlegirlproblem it is a everyone problem. I am constantly reminded of how hard these holidays tend to be for people who have lost a loved one. Even though my grandmothers passed away 13 & 11 years ago respectively, the impact of how much their presence would mean to me in my life right now fills me with a deep longing and sadness.
So how am I going to survive? How am I going to drag myself to the holiday work parties without wanting to crawl out of my own skin? Where exactly can I scream when another one of my not so close friends flashes a huge ring with the words “I said yes!” appears on my news feed? What do I think would make me feel better while freezing cold rain blurs the red & green glow of the lights and jolly music plays while couple in mittens hold hand walking through the romantic San Francisco backdrop? The answer is I don’t know, probably my car, and all the wine. That’s my survival guide, but I’m definitely open to ideas.