There is something about this time of the year that makes everyone, young and old, near and far – want to be less of a “patridge in a pear tree” and rather one of two turtle doves. With less than 12 days left to Christmas – how’s a girl supposed to get through this season without wanting five gold rings (or just a diamond one), a kiss under the mistletoe, and someone to prove to us that really, every kiss does begin with Kay.
Since I started college, and freshman, sophomore, and junior year passed swiftly without a significant other to dote on me during the holiday season – Christmas has served as a nagging reminder that I was (and am) in fact, single. As my friends and their newly found college sweethearts would plan out trips to their respective hometowns (and now are married, by the way), and obsessively describe what they wanted and what they were getting their boyfriend – I silently wished they would all just shut up.
During breaks, I’d work at a retail store at the local mall and constantly watch couples cooing and smiling with their little shopping bags and hand-holding techniques that made me want to gag myself. And of course, at my Southern-inspired Christmas dinner, where at the ripe ol’ age of 20 – I was the strange one who was not only without a boyfriend, but also with no intentions of getting married right after graduation. Nope, I was the crazy misfit who wanted to move far, far away to a scary place called New York City and be a writer. Though they supported me, I’m not sure they ever quite understood.
But this year, this Christmas, this season, something in me is different. In fact – I hadn’t even noticed that I was single for the holidays until a dear friend of mine, K, sought my counsel and said “You know, it is just really hard to be single right now.”
Don’t get me wrong – I’ve been well aware that Christmas is quickly approaching. I’m flying home on Friday to spend some much-needed time with my family and long-lost friends whom I haven’t seen in ages. I’ve toured all the window-displays on Fifth Avenue both with my friend E, and Mr. Possibility. I had front-row tickets to watch the tree at Rockefeller Center light up with Mr. Unavailable. I saw the Rockettes in complete style and everlasting wonder with my friend J, and I’ve walked throughout the city admiring the lights and the peace that seems to come with this time of year. Mr. Possibility took me ice skating and we went to Macy’s to check off gifts on our shopping lists. Right this very second and for the last few weeks, my Pandora “Christmas” station has been getting quite the workout. And most important of all, when that first flake fluttered to the Manhattan ground, I was completely alone and completely in awe.
I’ve embraced Christmas, and without even knowing, I’ve been perfectly content without a boyfriend. I haven’t been putting myself down because for the fourth year in a row, one of my best friends, L, will be my date to our Christmas Eve dinner. I haven’t felt ashamed that I’ll reunite with my extended family and they will probably ask me when I’m getting married. I haven’t wished and hoped and dreamed of being proposed to on Christmas morning (as I used to carefully plan out in my head). I haven’t cursed the smitten couples or the newlyweds who are so excited to spend their very first Christmas together.
But for the longest time, this season was so difficult, so grueling, so sad, so disappointing – because isn’t Christmas or any type of holiday at this time of year – supposed to be about love? About celebrating miracles and hoping for all that is to come? Or trusting that even if you can’t see it, it is out there – waiting to come into your life and shower you with gifts not only under the tree, but also helping you hang ornaments on the top limb.
But really, aren’t all of those ideas applicable to being single? Even when we relate it more about being a pair?
That while we think meeting Mr. Right will be a miracle, the true amazement is that before him, we get this incredible time to just love and concentrate on ourselves. We hope to see our children’s faces light up and ask us about Santa and play with our hubby in the snow – but don’t we also hope that we don’t lose ourselves in a relationship, and that we continue to adore the person we’ll see staring back at us in the mirror, each and every day for the rest of our lives? That sometimes it is so tough to believe there is a light at the end of the single tunnel or a glimmer of positivity in truly, finding peace in being alone – but even if we can’t feel it, we know it is possible, we know it can be ours.
This anticipation of a man to enter, to make the holidays brighter and fuller, to give us little boxes with bows, and to love how we look in our red sweater dresses – tears us up inside. Because really, we fear it will never happen. But instead of doubting the process, doubting the fates, and even worse, doubting ourselves – we miss out on how magical and truly beautiful a Christmas can be without a man. How experiencing flickering lights, parties, and travel can be just as entertaining when we’re out of love.
I don’t feel like I’m waiting on something. I don’t feel like I’m missing something from Christmas or that the universe is depriving me of a companion to make the holidays bearable. But instead, I’m excited. I’m so ready to shout from the rooftops that I’m single and that I’m happy. That I have a life that I created, that the presents you see were bought by only me and my money. That while I’m not kissing under the mistletoe – I haven’t lost hope that one day I will. Besides, it isn’t the number one priority anymore – not at Christmas, not at New Year’s, not at all. Right now, in this moment, in the snow, in the lights– the only thing to focus on is myself and this journey. And I can say with confidence that I disagree with you, Mariah Carey – I don’t want you (whichever man that represents) for Christmas, but all I really want is me.
Tis Christmastime in the city, and my, oh, my is the weather frightful –
…but the feeling I have inside is so delightful. It is a feeling of wholeness, of completeness, of security, of magic – that derives from the greatest blessing, the most thoughtful gift, and the most incredible miracle I could ever experience – and that’s celebrating self-love. Celebrating…me.
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Uh-huh. Yesterday had this thought in the grocery store: Once you get married and have kids, you won’t often get these chances to be alone and do whatever you want. You might even long for some alone time. So enjoy it while it lasts. And I did!
I think the holidays are about love, yes, but not necessarily only “coupledom” love. I feel like it’s a time of year to love strangers, our friends, relatives, neighbors, and family.
Also, having a significant other over the holidays can be a pain when you don’t get to spend the whole time with your own family :( I’ve been struggling with this the past few years.
I woke up in a less than chipper mood this morning. Perhaps due to the impending first solo Christmas I’ve spent in 4 years. Yes it may be lonely but I would like to take the time to remind everyone reading this, it could be worse. The past 4 years I have had to spend my Christmas in a marriage that should have never been. I had to split holidays between his family and mine, all the while hating him and despising the obligation to be with anyone else but my family. So although single life is challenging and no matter how much I would have loved a strapping man holding my waist at the company Christmas party Thursday, I’m happy to be alone this holiday season spending it exactly how I want to without any obligations to anyone else. Solo may not be glamorous, but freedom is priceless.
Tis the season to have baking parties with your girlfriends & drink plenty of wine!
I love this post. With my boyfriend behind so far away, I can’t lose myself. However, when he does come home…I don’t want to forget to be a little selfish once in awhile!
You go girl! Congratulations for discovering one of the wonders of the universe. I told a lovely friend this morning that to have discovered herself at such a young age, to be happy with who she is and love herself is an amazing accomplishment. Granted, I’m old, (lets not go there, kthx) but it took me years longer than you and she to become comfortable in my own skin. It’s not men or relationships or jobs or success that do that either, it’s something you can do for yourself, with yourself, and only that.
I’ve thought about this a lot. The guys ogle the younger girls, they love their looks, their youth, their vitality, but it’s true. When men start looking for “the one” they want someone who believes in themselves. Confidence is the new sexy. When young women can find that before the man or the marriage, that’s so freaking incredible it’s unbelievable! So keep believing in yourself, keep finding the love of your life in your mirror every morning and the day will come when you’ll find someone else who sees that beauty too.
So glad For the Love of Blogs featured you, I’m hooked and I’ll be hanging around, trying not to be stalker-ish! :)
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“the true amazement is that before him, we get this incredible time to just love and concentrate on ourselves.” – too true!!
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