The weather has dipped to a chilling thirty-three degrees. What was once beautiful autumn leaves vibrantly and boldly displaying their colors to those fortunate enough to be paying attention, are now beginning to turn a shade of brown aimlessly floating on to the ground. This of course is evidence that winter is coming, but more importantly my favorite time of year – the holiday season!
It’s pretty safe to assume that a good portion of the world, regardless of religious affiliation or lack there of, recognize this as a time when people tend to slow the pace of life down. Whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s Eve, it’s the perfect time to bring the madness of the Matrix to a halt, and reflect what’s truly important. It’s amzing to witness a festive atmosphere when human beings are attempting to be at their best.
In the earlier part of my career, I had to work during some of the busiest days of the season. Whether it was before or after the holidays, I was spending all of my time in the office. I hated it but I was also very much used to it. Unfortunately however, it also meant that time spent with family and socializing with friends had to be scaled down, or eliminated altogether.
It was during these solo moments that my own personal traditions were born. I became a decent cook while making my own holidays meals (after several frantic calls to my dad during the process) I also decorated my Christmas tree and apartment all by myself. It became “my thing” and I grew to love the quietness of it all. Of course I would have preferred to be with loved ones and my crew but I learned to appreciate the me time, something I needed daily to remain sane in a chaotic world. I also began to view this opportunity for myself as a meditative like retreat, and focus on bettering myself and my thoughts.
There were also years that I spent celebrating with likeminded people who became family out of necessity. The lifelong bonds that were created due to all of us being in the same boat of either having to work, lived too far from family or sadly, couldn’t go home because of how we loved was desperately needed. There was always a few buddies of mine who were not welcomed by the very people who were supposed to love them unconditionally. To be honest, I wasn’t always happy to be around family when I was closeted. The strength to keep up the facade became unbearable and I had no desire to dodge the nosey and sure to be asked question of “do you have a girlfriend?” No sir, I would much rather be playing spades, and sipping on drinks with the family I chose who knew me better than anyone else in the world. That was my meaning of the perfect holiday season.
As we close out the year, I find myself in a caterpillar like state of existence. I’m wading knee deep in transformation of a very different kind, anxiously awaiting and preparing for a new beginning and ready to spread my butterfly wings. This year in particular was basically a bust, but when I think back on how the past solo holiday experiences taught me to go within to find strength, a sense of family, and resilience, I was grateful that what was now occurring, complete with challenges, was completely figureoutable based on my journey thus far.
The magical moments of possibility reared it’s head recently and could potentially be the game changer I desperately needed and deserved. I was conscious of my own gratitude for still having my actual family to lean on, and two friends who selflessly forced me to continue to pursue my dreams and remember who I was.
I could always depend on myself to feel empowered during the year’s end because it brought about so much joy, not just in the lives of others celebrating the season of giving and receiving, but for myself and my overall well-being. It was a time to disconnect and reflect on where I am, what is ending, and look forward to the birth of a new reality. It took being alone and those safe and comfortable times with my same gender loving brothers, that allowed me to cherish the experiences that had me falling in love with myself, and the man I was becoming.
If you’re finding that your holidays will be a one man show, it can be tough, I’m not going to lie about it. There are however, ways to create what you need out of necessity and to feel a sense of security and be unapologetic about your own self-preservation. Take the time to treat yourself right. Buy yourself something special, have a cheat day in lieu of a cheat meal, and laugh with people who’ve become your go to tribe. This could be your chance to end the year powerfully with intention, purpose, and apply your own meaning to the spirit of the season.