This was my first Thanksgiving away from my family ever in my whole life. Originally I didn’t think it was going to be a big deal. In my family, my mom’s side of the family gathers for every holiday. We cook. A ton. And drink. Lots of wine. And laugh. Uncontrollably. I can always count on ridiculousness to ensue at any gathering. We’re loud (and sometimes downright obnoxious), we know it, and we love it. I figured that this Thanksgiving would be like the rest, and buying a $400 plane ticket home, when Christmas is a bigger deal for us anyway, seemed unpractical since I only left Michigan four months ago anyway. My parents even shipped me boxed mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing and a bottle of wine to make my own little Thanksgiving dinner at home.
I tried to keep myself as busy as possible to keep from thinking about my family coming together hundreds of miles away without me. I woke up early in the morning to check out Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and I had a blast. Then when I came home I thought I’d just sleep away the majority of the day. But of course, aftwe waking to an empty apartment, the loneliness quickly set in. I tried to diminish longing to be home by blasting music while I made my dinner for one and I put myself to work cleaning my bedroom, but before long I was confronted with sadness again which had evolved into a knot in the pit of my stomach.
What was also difficult was the numerous “Happy Thanksgiving, we miss you!” texts I kept receiving from family and close friends throughout the day, which served as a perpetual reminder that I was alone. As one who enjoys bouts of solitude, it was not much appreciated on this day, and I was aching for some human interaction. When one of my roommates came home he told me that most people who move to the city end up experiencing a holiday alone and how he considered it like an initiation to New York and becoming a New Yorker.
While I don’t consider myself a New Yorker yet and I’m not sure I ever will since my roots are in Michigan, I certainly can say that I’ve been “initiated” into the New York lifestyle where everyone has experienced loneliness and almost everyone has spent a holiday without their family. To my wonderful family and friends who I thought I could be strong enough to spend a holiday without missing, boy was I wrong. I miss everyone tremendously, and although I was physically in another state, my mind allowed me to spend the day re-living past holidays together. What I finally realized, and maybe spending the day alone is what it took, is that it doesn’t matter if family gatherings sometimes seem monotonous and boring in the traditional sense, it’s being together under one roof for yet another year that makes it special.
Happy Thanksgiving from NYC. Love you all.
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