Thanksgiving: The Other Holiday

There's not a lot I miss about the life I led before I met Nicole due, in no small part, to the fact that I haven't really had to give up anything other than things like being unhappy, being alone, etc.

But if you were to ask me if, deep down inside, there was anything I missed about my single days, it would be this: Thanksgiving.  Or, rather, not having Thanksgiving.

It's not that I don't like celebrating Thanksgiving, it's that I liked not celebrating it even more.

As it is, Thanksgiving is the holiday between Halloween and Christmas.  Stores can sell people things for Halloween and Christmas, but beyond food, they're stuck when it comes to Thanksgiving.  Halloween displays don't change into Thanksgiving displays on November 1st, they change into Christmas displays.

Even when I was in college, and just a few hours away from my parents' house, I remember skipping Thanksgiving, although I think I only got away with that because other relatives had been unable to attend.  I can't imagine just skipping it if my entire family was going to be there.

Once I graduated from college, though, I left the state, and coming home for Thanksgiving was no longer a realistic possibility.  And I suddenly realized how glorious Thanksgiving could be.

Holidays are strange in that they are, technically, days off from work, but they're spoken for, so they're not really.  No one does whatever they want on Christmas.  You have obligations.  Now, whether those obligations are enjoyable or not is a different story, but they're still obligations.  At least with Thanksgiving you get the day after it off, too (most of us, anyway).

When I stopped having obligations on Thanksgiving, a whole new world opened up.  Because pretty much
everything shuts down (this happened before stores got ridiculous with Black Friday deals -- and, also, I hate all that noise, so in my head they're all closed like they should be), my options were limited.  I'd also kind of feel like an ass if I went somewhere on Thanksgiving and made someone wait on me.

So with no obligations and no options to go anywhere, I was left with an amazing scenario: I had to do nothing.  "I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be."

I know it's sounds like a contradiction, but it's liberating to be forced to do nothing, particularly for those of us who have a hard time relaxing.

And as a contrarian, I just enjoyed not doing what everyone else was doing.  Dare I say it, it felt liberating to not have to conform to traditional holiday norms.  I felt like I had fallen off the grid, like I was hidden from everyone else, unaccounted for and left alone.

Sounds great, doesn't it?

It's different for Nicole because she has a large family.  The associations she makes are different and strong.  So every Thanksgiving that we've spent together and every Thanksgiving in our future will involve some sort of family gathering.  And that's fine.

But sometimes I miss doing absolutely nothing.