I thought about writing something to encourage people who are online to get offline and do something, in real time, with real people.
There are plenty of times, though, when we’d love that, when we want nothing more, and it just ain’t happening. No invitations. The crowd isn’t getting together. Everyone’s out of town. Or we’re between things — new in town, not able to travel, waiting on a relationship to blossom, you know…all sorts of reasons for liminal spaces or empty calendars.
Or perhaps we’ve traveled to be with people we do love and want to be with, but it’s just not going like we hoped. Something’s off kilter this year (or always).
When those social-desert times fall on holidays that are all about togetherness or when the togetherness itself is the problem, it can be downright painful. Awful. And we can pass some of the time online trying to connect to people who aren’t there or looking for ways to stir up new connections or revive old ones so that we won’t feel this lonely again.
One of the only things sadder than feeling this way is thinking that you’re the only one who feels this way.
And you’re not. These holidays like Thanksgiving bring up enormous pain for people, the agony of “what if” or “wonder when” or “why not me?” They are touted as togetherness-fests, a beautiful thing that works for, well, those who are “together” with someone — or only the even smaller subset who are enjoying that togetherness.
A few things to remember: we all feel this way sometimes; even the best of families can have an off year; it’s okay to admit how you feel; tomorrow’s another day; you are so much more than your social invitations; you are valuable beyond measure.
Yes, even if you’re surfing the Internet and eating cold cereal alone today.
I promise. I’ve been there.