Are You Choosing to be Thankful?

By: Linx staff member, Michael Norman Quiz-Thanksgiving-Style-Header1

With the holidays just around the corner, this can be a great time to meet someone new, but it can also be an incredibly lonely time for those of us who aren’t surrounded by close friends and family.  As an unattached only child whose parents don’t live nearby, I was acutely aware of this kind of isolation just a few Christmases ago; I had very recently had a rather nasty surgery and both of my parents were sick, so it wasn’t wise for us to spend the holiday together.  I don’t think I’ve ever actually had a boyfriend of significant other during the holiday season, so that part I could handle – but being away from my parents was tough.

I thought I was going to spend the day alone (almost literally) licking my wounds and feeling sorry for myself until a good friend invited me to join her, her roommate, and one of her co-workers for an impromptu Christmas dinner.  While it certainly wasn’t the same as spending the day with my parents (which I’ve done three dozen times or so) it definitely proved to be one of the most memorable holiday dinners of my life.  (When an investment banking lesbian, a three-hundred-pound gay man on painkillers, a newly out gay lawyer who secretly wants to be a caterer, and a straight black project manager who was a collegiate swimmer consume 7 bottles of wine in 6 hours while talking about their families and their sex lives, it’s bound to be memorable.)  I learned a lot of things I never expected to learn that evening, and one of the most important is that being alone is often a choice.  Just because I wasn’t able to follow a family tradition, I assumed I had to spend a holiday alone.  I wasn’t allowing myself to consider other options, to embrace other types of family, to invest in other types of relationships, or even to invest in myself.

This year I expect to spend the holiday with my parents – just as I’ve done for years – but should that plan be somehow interrupted, I know that I’ll consider alternatives.  And I would enjoy those alternatives.  So even if you’re separated from your family – whether by distance or something harder to overcome – or if you’re new to your current hometown and don’t have an established social network, there’s no reason to spend the holidays alone.  In fact, if you take the initiative to invite new people into your world on a day when they would otherwise feel alone and possibly dejected, you might be incredibly surprised by the warmth and intensity of the connection that could result.

Here are some ideas for getting through the holiday season in good cheer, and maybe even building some relationships (romantic or otherwise) along the way.animated-thanksgiving-desktop-backgrounds-wide-photos-hd-wallpapers-free-thanksgiving-desktop-wallpapers-backgrounds

Host a “Misfit” Thanksgiving…

If you don’t already have plans for the holiday, ask around in your circle of friends or even post to Facebook; you’ll probably find that you’re not alone.  If you’re not a great cook, you have plenty of options that could still make you a great host or hostess.  Plenty of restaurants and grocers (like Draeger’s and Whole Foods) offer complete or a la carte solutions for Thanksgiving dinner.  You may find that one or more of your guests is a great home chef, so give them the opportunity to bring dishes (or just encourage them to bring wine or desserts) and fill your home with new friends and holiday cheer.  Speaking from personal experience, this can be a truly wonderful way to spend a holiday, and can be much more intimate and fulfilling than you might expect.

Take Yourself Out to Dinner…

If spending the day alone is inevitable, and you know you know that staying inside all day isn’t good for you, make a reservation for yourself at one of the many, many SF restaurants that will be serving dinner this Thanksgiving.  Some of the restaurants promising to give you reasons to be thankful this year include Michael Mina, Epic Roasthouse, Campton Place, and One Market, so odds are that you’ll be experiencing plain pilgrim fare taken to an entirely new level.  You might also want to stop into a great bar or lounge for an after dinner drink and some great conversation; you won’t be the only person spending the day without family, and you definitely won’t be the only person open to connecting with someone new.

Lend a Helping Hand…

For some people, volunteering on Thanksgiving is a tradition unto itself, and the Bay area is full of opportunities for helping out.  At Linx, we always think that volunteering is a great way to meet someone (who doesn’t like dating a man or woman with a heart of gold?) and the single person you’d meet volunteering on Thanksgiving will be just as impressed with you as you are with her or him.  Even if scoring a date isn’t the first thing on your mind that day, it’s not a bad consolation prize for being a good citizen. 😉  Good sources for finding volunteer opportunities include Glide Memorial, Hands On Bay Area, and Little Brothers.  You could also contact your local church or food bank or even a retirement center for more ideas; lots of people would love company this holiday season, and not all of them have the option of leaving their homes.People-volunteering-at-so-012

Relax and Reflect…

There’s nothing wrong with just taking the day to yourself and doing nothing at all.  You don’t have to leave the house.  You don’t have to eat turkey.  You certainly don’t have to eat pumpkin pie.  You could stay in, do laundry, sort piles of receipts, and downshift from everything going on in your life.  You could take the day to really think about your life, and examine all of the reasons you have to be thankful.  It would be very easy to focus on being alone, and to fixate on what you consider the missing pieces in your life, but it’s so much more valuable to take an inventory of what’s right in your world.  Most of us are drawn to positive, optimistic people, and the best way to be positive is to really be aware of the gifts in your life; you probably have many.  And you probably know what most of them are.  Don’t be afraid to make a list, and check it twice.  Christmas, after all, is just around the corner. 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s