Hanging On

I can’t believe it’s November. I was having a really hard time letting go of October—I know this because I was dating future events at work with an October date instead of November.

Well, I’m in the grip of November now and find myself planning for Thanksgiving. It’s a bit overwhelming because it seems to come around quicker and quicker every year.

I used to have the holidays in the bag. For about ten years, I had Thanksgiving at my home, with both my family and my ex’s. I started planning weeks in advance and had lists upon lists. The day always went beautifully. Well, the food did, anyway. The inter-family dynamics were another story, but despite that, everyone always had a good time. Sometimes we had guests—relatives visiting from Italy or friends who found themselves alone one particular year or another.

After my ex and I broke up, my holidays, like everything else in my life, became a bit of a jumble. That major change in my life, plus other major life changes, deaths in the family, and aging parents have caused a change in how I relate to the holidays. I never know what the holidays will bring anymore or what I should be doing until they are upon me. Where is it going to be? What am I making? Who am I getting gifts for (looking ahead to December).

Everything is so unsettled these days. My life was actually more settled when I was in my 20s. For most people, it’s the opposite: uncertain, crazy life in their 20s, settled and more secure in their… ahem…later years.

In a way, it’s liberating and thrilling. In a way, it’s terrifying. It’s like the proverbial roller coaster and I’m just trying to hang on for dear life.thunderbolt

The holidays are extra-super-crazy. Kind of like the Thunderbolt at Coney Island. A series of constant loops and stomach-flipping drops.

But I guess that’s life.



  1. Not really a fan of this time of year, but I try to do stuff that helps get me through. And it’s also a super-busy time for everyone. Remember, all, to take some breaks for yourself!


  2. I can relate to the age flip-flop. I never had the freedom of youth, so I’ve claimed that now, in my fifties. I choose the freedom to have peace, instead of the roller coaster of family holidays, whenever possible. I hope everyone takes the chance to choose something that works for them, whether it’s skipping an event or hosting the thing, do it because it feeds your soul. And yes, like Andi said, take breaks. I work for a UU church. We, the minister and staff, are pressing everyone to enjoy a long, slow holiday season. It’s medicine to get you through the busy times. Think of it as wrapping yourself in a heavy quilt, wrapping your hands around a hot mug, and staring at the fire. Or lighting a candle, some incense, or the tree lights. Take time to recharge. If there are children in your life, teach them the importance of quiet times and slow rituals. You’ll help them now and when they are grown.


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