Being Alone on Thanksgiving

I am 66 years old and will almost certainly be alone on Thanksgiving. It is not because I am a terrible or weird person. Quite the opposite. It is more a matter of circumstances. I have almost no family left. I never married or had children. And there is not a lot of close friends. I have only some acquaintances and casual friends at this period in my life.

I am comfortable with my lifestyle and being alone a lot. However, holidays can be a problem.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. In my younger days, I was invited to parties and dinners. And I have had some great Thanksgivings. But for many years, I have been alone on Thanksgiving. Sometimes, I have not been invited to a dinner or party while other times I turned down one or two invitations.

There have been times when it was very difficult to be alone. The biggest stress was as the holiday approached and the night before. Once it was Thanksgiving and the day went on, my anxiety and depression lifted and I relaxed.

There were times when I came close to being alone but “found” a place to go to. Someone invited me or sometimes I sort of invited myself. I once thought that anything was better than being alone on Thanksgiving. I no longer feel that way. Sometimes it is better to be alone on Thanksgiving than be at a dinner where you are having a really terrible time.

I took some invitations that I wish I had not taken. Usually it was a couple or a person who had problems and were not happy in their lives. Sometimes there was fights and other times, the person(s) drained me. She, he or they spent a lot of time telling me their problems. I could not wait to get home and just be alone. Thanksgiving was not fun and Thanksgiving should always be fun.

Thus, I now turn down some invitations prefering to be alone. Last year, I got an invitation to a sit down dinner that did not fit into my schedule. It was a long bus ride to the dinner which began promptly at 12 noon and a long bus ride home. It was a little too formal and structured for my tastes as well as beginning too early for me.

I have turned down other invitations because I felt that I would not enjoy myself. There was a conflict in the home or the person inviting me had problems. I have learned the hard way.

So for many years, I have now been alone on Thanksgiving. And I have begun to look forward to it. It does not mean that I will be alone this year. I may get an invitation that will work for me. And if that happens, I will accept the invitation. But if it does not, I will celebrate on my own.

Being alone does not necessarily mean being lonely just like being at a dinner does not mean that everyone is enjoying themselves. Being alone does not mean that there is something so terrible about me that has caused me to sit home alone on Thanksgiving. My self esteem is not affected.

I live next door to a wonderful organic supermarket. I buy myself a small turkey dinner from their prepared foods. Sometimes, I get just the turkey and prepare the trimmings myself but other times I buy the entire dinner from their take out and prepared foods section. I treat myself to a special dessert from their bakery, such as a slice of cherry pie. And I buy a small bottle of liquor to make myself a holiday drink. I limit myself to one or two drinks during the day.

Even if I am alone, I have a wonderful turkey dinner with all the trimmings.

Of course, there is a lot of sports on television but I am not a sports fan. I am bundled with my cable company and try to find a good movie to watch because I love movies. And I spend a lot of time on line. In the evening, I will take an evening walk. I use the day to relax and get caught up but still overeating.

Here are some suggestions for those who might be alone on Thanksgiving and are dreading it:

Some cities have city wide Thanksgiving celebrations. Mine does not. Perhaps your city does. Or you might consider volunteering at a place that serves dinner to the homeless and the poor. Do you know someone in a nursing home, hospital or other facility? This might be a good day to visit not just for them, but also for you.

Take a day trip. One really nice thing about Thanksgiving is that there is usually not a lot of traffic on Thanksgiving itself. Is there some place close to your community that you have been wanting to see or explore? Keep in mind, however, that just as in your community, many places will be closed on Thanksgiving.

If you celebrate Xmas, perhaps, this is a good day to begin your Xmas shopping or Xmas preparations. Some stores are beginning Xmas sales early this year. Or begin decorating or addressing cards. Start baking and freezing.

My city is a big music city and in the evenings, there are some clubs that have special Thanksgiving shows. I have gone in the past and have run into friends as well as former friends who have moved away but were visiting for the holiday. If you are a music fan, check out clubs in your community.

Some years back, I felt that one of the worst things that could happen to someone was to be alone on Thanksgiving. I no longer feel that way. It is actually worse to go to a dinner where someone has a big fight with someone else and you are the audience. Or where you are bored to death by the person or persons who invited you to dinner.

Alway remember that just because someone is at a Thanksgiving dinner or at a party does not necessarily mean they are having a good time. And just because a person is alone does not mean that they are lonely or having a bad time. You can be alone and enjoying yourself and your holiday.

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