The holiday season can have an odd effect on people. While is does create moments of perpetual joy, it can also conjure up feelings of greed, rudeness, and isolation. I am among the isolated group.
This winter marks the first time that I will be away from my hometown, which means I will be away from family and longtime friends during the holidays. And athough I am a bit saddened that I won't be able to spend the holidays with those closest to me, I'm not distraught that I'm spending it away from home. When I figured out how I was feeling, it got me thinking. "Am I wrong to feel this way?/Should I be more upset?" etc.... And after asking myself, I realized something: Even though I'm "alone" for the holidays, I'm not lonely.
Moving so far away from home (for context, I moved from Pennsylvania to California) I figured I'd have to sacrifice some of the holidays spent with my family. It was inevitable. And at the same time, I thought that I'd be too sad to do any sort of holiday themed activity (I.e gift shopping, Christmas parties, decorating and so on) without them by my side. Contrary to my expectations, being alone during this season has given me the opportunity to think about and do things that I would not have thought about otherwise.
In a general sense, people want to feel included in a group. And that feeling is no different during the holiday season. With being in a new city for the winter, I've found myself developing deeper relationships with the people I have met since I moved to the west coast. This is something that I noticed right around preparing for Thanksgiving. Friendships that might have appeared like "the obligatory work aqquaintence" or " the overtly nosy neighbor" have truly matured into genuine connections that I did not see coming. Conversations have turned from mundane chit chat to intellectual and heartfelt. Although surprising, these new bonds are most definitely welcomed along with the old ones.
In maintaining any relationship, communication is vital. And because I am not home, this statement has become more true than ever. As ashamed as I am to admit this, but for some reason when I was still in PA I figured that because I was able to see those I cared for that I didn't necessarily need to check in with them, even during the holidays. So during these months in particular, I have made it a point to talk to my loved ones back home as much as I possibly can. To emulate the feeling of being around my Pennsylvania family, I have upped my number of phone calls, FaceTimes, and text messages. And those on the receiving end have noticed.
What used to be an unthinkable thought of being alone on the holidays has become possible. Although I am not physically home, I am still able to enjoy this time of the year knowing I have those that care for me. So as this season comes to its climax, I've learned there a difference between being "alone" versus being lonely.