I write this as I fly home on the plane from California to Rhode Island. It's one more year at home for the holidays as a fabulous single, child-free lady. Part of me feels confident about my life choices and the fact that I am single, and part of me wishes I were bringing a partner.
A third part of me wonders if I am in a state of arrested development. In my family, we still do some of the same rituals that we did as children. My mother hangs up stockings for the adult children with care. We read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas before bed on Christmas Eve. We sing Christmas carols in the car. We have watched Elf about 30 times.
For years, I felt we should stop all this childishness. We are grown-ups now. Doing these childlike rituals left me with an unsettled feeling that there should be a child listening in to storytime, and not just adult children. But then I decided, who cares?
Ambivalence can be my middle name, but sometimes, it seems best to leave the ambivalence behind and go full-on positive. Especially at the holidays. Especially while being single at the holidays.
The holidays can bring up childhood traumas and emotional angst. They can be a huge trigger for feeling lonely when you are single. I am tired of all that. My new idea is that I am back to embracing the childlike wonder of it all. I am done with the woe-is-me-I'm-single-at-the-holidays thing, and I am going back to childlike wonder.
It's easy to lose the fun of Christmas in the criticism of commercialism and stress. Why not be silly and believe in magic? As kids, we are full of optimism and hope and lightness about all sorts of things. This is a state of being that single people -- and in fact all adults -- should experience more. I started to date a man who loves Christmas. He sees childlike as good. He asked me, What are you asking Santa for for Christmas? I liked the idea of asking Santa for a gift.
My friend Sue goes home to spend Christmas with her family. Her oldest sister has a family of her own, but Sue and her little sister still stay with her parents. They don't have kids there, but Sue told me, "I still like to leave the cookies out for Santa."
I love Sue's approach to life. She inspires me to get rid of my ambivalence and leave out my own cookies for Santa this year. And to make my wishes known to Santa too.