This year, I decided to skip Thanksgiving.
Traditionally, I enjoy Thanksgiving. I consider Thanksgiving a secular holiday, and for that alone I love it. The food is good too—especially the turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes. I don't care for yams or stuffing. Pumpkin pie also tops the list.
For the last few years my Thanksgivings have been unsatisfactory. The weeks leading up to the holiday are full of tension, worry and nervous anticipation. For two out of the last three, I had a boyfriend (or pseudo boyfriend) and expected something from him. Last year, I spent the day with then-boyfriend, Owen, and his roommate. The year before last, I got a last minute pity-invite from work-friend, TR. The year before that, I went with pseudo-boyfriend, The Republican, to his family in Gettysburg, PA. That was a seriously tense time, since those folks were super hard-core conservatives--much more so than The Republican himself.
When I made my decision to skip the holiday this year, I didn't know how I'd actually feel on the day. I might feel lonely, sad and self-pitying. I was tempted to write about it, but I didn't want to solicit sympathy. I do know for the last couple of weeks, I haven't felt bad or sad about not having plans.
I did get a last-minute invite to work-friend, Danielle's, house a couple of days ago (prompted by another friend, Nina), but I declined because I'd already decided to skip it in favor of my plan.
My plan started the day before Thanksgiving with a turkey sandwich. That's how I dealt with the desire for turkey: a sandwich with cranberry relish. It was good. Turkey craving satisfied.
Wednesday evening, after early release drinks with work folks, I went to volunteer at the DCJCC's "Everything but the Turkey" event. This year, I was in the kitchen and it was perfect. I worked hard and I didn't get annoyed at anyone. Yet I had lots interaction with strangers and it was fun. I was exhausted when I got home and started knitting a hat for my youngest nephew (his sisters get scarves—all done! He gets a hat).
My plan for the actual day was something like this: make breakfast, go for a hike, pick up Vietnamese food and see a movie. Also, make a pie.
That was more or less how it went but I started with bills and filing. Prosaic but necessary and it made me feel good—like I'd started the day with a clean slate.
For breakfast, I made a tasty omelet and watched the last episode of "Weeds." Do you watch this show? You should. Great ending.
The day was gorgeous and my plan was to go to the overlook at Great Falls on the MD side, where I've never been. I started somewhat unintentionally with the Billy Goat Trail. I wasn't the only one with this idea because the place was jam-packed. The tow-path was more crowded than the trail. Even though it felt a little wrong, I did the whole hike while listening to old radio shows. The sounds of nature might have been more (or equally) pleasant, but the sounds of everyone else's inane conversation were not on my agenda, so I opted to block them out.
As I neared the end of the trail the wind picked up and grey clouds appeared, so I skipped the trip to Olmsted Island and the view of the falls. Next time. I enjoyed the hike thoroughly. I need to go hiking more often.
Next stop: Vietnamese food. The Eden Center is my go-to place for the big holidays that shut everything else down. As expected, the place was bustling and I was the only white face in the crowd. The only disappointment? They were out of avocado drink. I survived and picked up a few snack-y things for dinner/lunch.
Last stop: movies. Much to my surprise, I wasn't in the mood for movies. Instead, I opted to go straight home and watch a couple episodes of "Battlestar Galactia" and finish knitting my nephew's hat. Success on both counts! I have a finished hat and one more dvd in Season 2.5 to go.
Since I hadn't made a pie in the morning, the evening would have been the time for it, but I was too tired to bother. Plus I had the hat project to keep me occupied. I'll still make the pie, but I'll do it this weekend. One pie a year is necessary and sufficient.
So, did I feel sad? No. Did I feel lonely? A little, but not to the point where I was morose or even unhappy. I was quite surprised at how contented the whole day left me. The exercise helped. I'm in lousy shape, so it didn't take much to do me in—which made the hike perfect. I was covered in a peaceful haze of physical exhaustion all evening. It's hard to be sad when all you can think about is sleep.
Hope everyone had as good a time on Thanksgiving as I did!
Grateful for: taking the day off.