Last year my family all got together for a combined Thanksgiving/Reunion. This was no easy feat as my family lives all over the world. When I was instructed when and where to be, I had what could only be described as an existential meltdown. Every negative sensory nerve was triggered telling me not to go. But how could I not? Wasn’t there some sort of unwritten (or maybe even written?) rule that when your family gets together you MUST attend?
I decided to break the rule and not attend. What’s more, I decided to be honest with everyone about my reasons because certainly that would be appreciated, right? (Heads up, it wasn’t).
I remembered an article from goop (especially the referenced Ram Dass quote) and realized that maybe going home for the holidays isn’t always mandatory. When people asked me what I was doing for Thanksgiving I said to them “I am giving myself the great gift of not dealing with my family”. The reactions were always the same. First a quizzical look, then a slow expression of oh my god you can DO THAT? Often followed by a sweeping proclamation that they were going to do that very thing next year.
I’m not telling anyone not to go home for Thanksgiving. I’m just saying if you’re dreading it with every fiber of your being, it might be okay to rethink things.
As for the fallout from my inattendance, I can only say it was right for me. It did shift some of the dynamics with some of my family members, and strengthened others. (I should give thanks to my sister right now who totally GOT IT and our bond is closer and stronger than ever).
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone whether you are spending it with your family, friends, or that sweet sweet Netflix.