Memorial Day is a holiday that pays tribute to veterans and those who died while serving in the military, but it is also associated with beginning for summer, end of school and vacation period. Many gather with friends and family, play outside games and have a cookout. To the outsider such celebrations look like a lot of fun. However, the problem is that not everyone has friends or family nearby and can participate in such gatherings. As a result, many people feel left out of many holidays and their loneliness is especially highlighted during these times. So how to help these feelings?
One important thing to realize is that you are not the only one who feels left out during celebrations. When I worked in urgent care, it seemed like everyone was having rash of physical ailments during traditional holidays. Most people that came to see me also had a lot of personal drama in their lives. It seems not a coincidence that patients would flood to urgent care. For many it was something significant to do to fill the gap of being left to themselves during a holiday.
Second, is that many such gatherings are in reality really boring. Most people in America live very simple consumer driven lives–they work, sleep, shop, eat, watch TV and occasionally vacation. So, on most gatherings, unless your friends and family highly educated and have ongoing interesting experiences and engagements, you will realize that you would have more fun staying home with a book.
Third, during holidays you don’t have to do what American culture imposes on you doing. You don’t have to participate in any traditionally observed fun fares. Instead script your own holiday agenda. Do what you like to do for your own pleasure. This what makes a holiday a true holiday–embrace, participation and celebration of life. Here is my recipe for unscripted holiday (yours can be as simple as hanging around in your pajamas and watching movies):
1. Sleep in.
2. Brew a cup of perfect coffee (or tea).
3. Browse the internet (or write).
4. Go on a walk.
5. Work in the garden.
6. Eat out for brunch.
7. Tell all your troubles to your dog (free mental health session–dog will enjoy the attention).
8. Take a bike ride.
10. Have a glass of wine.
11. Take a bath.
12. Draw a picture.
13. Cuddle up with a book.
It is a holiday and it can be any way you will let it be. Even if you don’t do anything that mass culture pressures you into doing, remember, you are not alone, there are thousands of others who just let it be. And those who are celebrating may not have as great of a time as their Facebook pictures might be suggesting. Give yourself permission to celebrate by your own rules.