Holidays Without Family Aren't The Same

There are two feelings we can feel on holidays. One, that we are so excited that we can’t sleep for three days prior. Or two, we can’t wait until it’s over. Typically, this is the change over time as we get older. When we’re young, we can’t wait to open Christmas presents, eat birthday cake, open Valentine's Day cards, fast until dinner for the Thanksgiving turkey, or search for Easter eggs. But, as we get older, we start to think that holidays suck. All we can “look forward to” is our family telling us how tall we have gotten, asking if we have a significant other, or wondering what we plan to do with our lives.

Remember the days we used to look forward to Grandma’s kisses, our aunts' compliments about our height, and our uncles giving us some cash (OK, so we may not have grown out of that)? Since when have we started to hate telling people how we are doing? We resent the times that we have to tell people that our lives aren’t going as well as we would have hoped. Yes, I have gotten taller—that’s pretty great. No, I don’t have a significant other—thanks for reminding me. And honestly, I have no idea where I want to go to college, or what path I want to take, or where I should start applying to jobs.

Looking back on it, why have we started to resent our own family? They only ask us questions because they are genuinely concerned about what is going on in our lives. But it seems like, as we get older, we turn “typical teenager” and start to look at everyone as our enemy, especially our family. We don’t seem to realize this until we spend a holiday without our family. When you aren’t waking up to your mom and dad nagging you to get out of bed and help clean the house before company comes over. When you don’t get to spend some much-needed time with the cousins you see about twice a year, if you’re lucky. Or when you don’t get to answer countless questions about yourself, and instead spend your time alone or in the company of another family.

Until you can feel the loneliness of being alone in a crowded room, you will never be able to respect your family the same way for all that they do for you. Watching a family celebrate a holiday as an outsider, you being to realize how much warmth is in the room. Although you may not be the most thrilled while you are being bombarded with questions, it feels good to know that people care about you and feel the need to ask about your life. We may hate it as we go through our teenage years, but when you don’t get to give hugs and laugh about fun memories with the people you love, it’s not the same. If there is any lesson that can be learned about spending a holiday away from family, it’s that we should appreciate those who love us, because you don’t know what you’ve got 'til it’s gone.

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