Holidays for Singles: Do They Have to Be Lonely?
- Cliff Young Contributing Writer
- 2005 11 Nov
Do you ever think about holidays, and what they mean for you? I mean really consider them. I don’t give them much thought until they’re a couple of weeks away, and then I approach them like I have another upcoming wedding to attend where I’m going stag.
Oftentimes I feel that if you’re not married or in a committed relationship (you can define “committed” on your own), holidays can be some of the loneliest times of the year for singles – even more so than the typical weekend night.
Part of the reason could be that holidays are already designated and pre-printed on your calendar. It’s not like a regular weekend where you have the opportunity to fill in the day with something or leave it blank; it’s filled in for you. Valentines Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Eve … they’re all holidays that seem to just revolve around relationships and family. It’s the same mandatory events that singles must go through each year that stare at you as a reminder that you’re single. That’s why I don’t think about holidays too much.
Maybe it’s deciding how I’m going to spend the holidays. Maybe it’s just the reminder that I’ll be the “odd man out,” again. Maybe it’s just another reminder that I don’t have a “significant other.” Maybe it’s the struggle with the thought that I’m even significant!
Don’t get me wrong. I love getting together with family and friends over the holidays, and I have a great family and friends who always make sure that I have some plans for the holidays. I rarely have to spend them alone if I don’t want to.
Yet, even still, I find them difficult at times.
God's Little Reminders
I just found out that a friend of mine, who I’ve spent many years with on the road, was found dead in a motel, alone. He was separated from his wife, had a loving family and leaves behind hundreds of close friends who will miss him dearly. The cause of death was heart failure. And we who are left wonder why. How can a guy with so many people who cared about him die alone?
I watched a movie the other night based upon the best-selling book, “Tuesdays with Morrie,” by Mitch Albom. The main character, Morrie, was terminally ill with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), but his goal in death was to teach people how to live. He said, “When you learn how to die, you’ll learn how to live.”
I’ve spent a lot of time over the past couple of months on cross-country flights. I’ve looked around the planes and have seen many servicemen returning to duty after short, but deserved vacations from the battlefield. I’m reminded that they don’t get the choice to be somewhere for the holidays. My self-pity towards holidays and being alone doesn’t mean so much anymore.
So, after I get over myself (and off of my singles soapbox), I look around and see so many things that I can do and be grateful for. Thanksgiving Day is one holiday that causes us to stop, even for a moment, and consider the blessings we’ve received rather than the personal desires of our own life.
This year, I’m challenging myself (and whomever wants to join me) to cause someone else to be thankful this holiday season. I know it’s not a new concept, nor even an obscure concept. In fact, Paul told us in Philippians 2:5:
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”
Even the movie "Pay it Forward" depicted how one person’s concern for others could change and touch many without knowing it. This can come in many forms: it can be a phone call to a long lost friend or relative to tell them that you care, it can be a donation to a charity or a person or it can be a simple gesture to someone during the day. The other person may not deserve it, notice it, nor the situation even warrant it. You may not be recognized, thanked nor even acknowledged. But it really doesn’t matter.
As a single, it’s so easy to get so caught up in your own world, at least for me. It’s not like my married friends whose lives revolve around their children and their children's schedules. My schedule and life, especially running my own business, revolve around me. It’s true and I admit it. But for some reason, I don’t think I’m the only one.
This year can be the start of something amazing – not only for you, but for everyone around you – if we take our eyes off of ourselves at least for a holiday or two. Don’t just wish someone a “Happy Thanksgiving.” What is that anyway? Give someone something to be thankful for. For that would be a Happy Thanksgiving.