So It’s Your First Holiday Alone

Well Covid finally got you, hopefully not like that, but you know what I mean. After months of existential dread, adapting to a constantly evolving situation, and trying your best to overcome everything that 2020 has thrown at you BAM! now it took away your holiday. The time that you normally spend with your family, the backdrop to your favorite memories, the trip that you make every year like a righteous pilgrimage that warms your soul, all gone gone gone. But fear not friend, don’t let your holiday depression combine with your seasonal depression, your Covid anxiety, your generalized anxiety, and your work stress to become some sort of mental health Megazord. Your friend, jaded single guy, is here to help guide you through with some helpful tips that he has picked up over the years.

Tip #1: Cook Way Too Much Food

Maybe you have heard my joke about Ham Mountain, where I “Accidentally” cooked a 10 pound ham and was forced to live in the aftermath of my decisions. Guess when that happened? Christmas. I got swept up in the spirit and tried to sooth my troubled soul by bringing out my inner Julia Child, no sane person would ever make that type of mistake on a regular day, but who among us is sane on a holiday. What I don’t say in the joke was that this was not an isolated event. That’s right, I have accidentally cooked a massive amount of pork on THREE separate Christmases. The only reason that this year I have no fear of adding to the Ham Mountain Range is that I am not currently eating meat. But don’t rule out a Broccoli Forrest or Quinoa Desert incident, because sometimes having more food than you can handle can help ease your spirit and make you feel good about something.

As an alternative you can just eat way to much food by yourself, preferably in the dark. It can be whatever food you want, the junkier the better. On an unrelated note did you know that they started making Cadbury mini eggs for Christmas, and they have been on the shelf since the day after Halloween, isn’t progress great.. Just remember make sure to stock up in advance, most legit stores are closed on holidays and you don’t want to be the sad sad man buying a frozen pizza at a gas station on Christmas day 2018.

Tip #2: Consider going into work

Yeah you know you shouldn’t, but deep down you know you should. The day after the holiday is always terrible, so why don’t you go in and get some things taken care of, it’s only an hour and a half of commute and you aren’t doing anything exciting anyway. Plus when people ask what you did for the holiday you can always say “I just worked” and it makes you seem like a martyr to the cause and gains you a little bit of pity. But the thing is once you think about going into work you are beset with the anxiety that comes from knowing that you could do something but instead chose to sit on your couch wearing sweatpants and eating pie straight out of a tin, which while rewarding in it’s own way is far from productive. So your choices are to go into work and push things around in a vain attempt at productivity, or to stay at home and dread having to go into work and face a mess the next day. So how do you decide? I suggest taking out your special challenge coin that you keep in your pocket every day, the one with the Latin motto and skull on one side and the Marcus Aurelius quote on the other and flip it. Since it’s not a clear heads or tails you can interpret it whatever way you want. Maybe if it lands Momento Mori side up you can remember that life is short and work won’t save you, or you can interpret it as death is coming so you might as well be productive while you can be. But no matter what you eventually choose the responsibility is off you and onto an inanimate object, plus you can now spend your time on the couch eating pie and pondering about the universe where the coin landed on the opposite side and how things are going on that end of the multiverse.

Tip #3: Hate Everything

I have a little ritual every Christmas Eve, I get drunk and I hate everything and everyone. I scroll through social media and reflect on how fake everyone is and how they are all just putting on a show. Your matching family clothes are dumb. Your Christmas tree is a waste of resources. Your grandma isn’t nearly as cute as you think she is, and that sweater she made you is hideous. I bet I could have cooked a better ham than that, in fact I may just go out and get a ham and give it a try. This is totally counterproductive and leaves me with nothing but a Christmas hangover and a bucket of resentment, but God Damn does it feel good. I generally like most of the people I haven’t unfollowed on social media, so having one day to hate everything about them is cathartic. I realize that I could just pick a random day to do this, but if you don’t care about holidays then Christmas Eve is just a random day anyway. Just make sure that you don’t actually post anything or text anyone, keep your shitty bourbon filled opinions to yourself or else you run the risk of being even more alone.

Tip #3a: Get Drunk

You don’t have to weaponize your drunkenness into rage, but nothing says “I’m adjusting well to the reality of spending the holidays alone” like a drink or 3. Just remember to pour some out for the homies and stick to the don’t post or text rule stated above.

Tip #4: Have a Panic Attack

I generally save this one for New Year’s Eve but the way things are going who knows if we are going to survive another 35 days of this shit. Just make sure that your panic attack is a doozy. I’m not talking about one of the normal little 4am on a Tuesday panic attacks, or the 3 minutes of dread that you have sitting in your car before walking into work, or that tightness in your chest that happens when you realize that the person who got into the grocery line behind you is wearing their mask over less holes than they need to, it’s the holidays after all, treat yourself. Have one of those full on, the world slows down, fetal position panic attacks, the type where you a legitimately wondering if this is finally it and you should call an ambulance. Spend those minutes that feel like hours questioning your entire existence and wondering if this is it, trust me it will definitely make this holiday one to remember.

Alternately you could use this day to better yourself by doing a Turkey Trot, or yoga, or being health, but where is the fun in that. I spend every other day wasting my time with Wim Hof breathing, cold showers, meditation apps, eating green, and “stretching” now it’s time to dive into the other side. You need to know the darkness in order to appreciate the light.

Tip #4: Watch the Wire

You dear reader fall into one of 2 camps, those who love The Wire, and those who’s opinions I don’t care about. So why not use today to either celebrate your love the the best TV series of all time, or to finally find out why people have been telling you to watch The Wire on a daily basis since it went off the air in 2008. I suppose you could watch something else, but why would you, I have seen every episode 10 times and trust me every single one was far better than The Irishman. If you don’t have HBO or Amazon Prime I suggest that you unfuck your life and find friends who will loan you their passwords, this is 2020, finding access to a show that has been off the air for over a decade isn’t exactly rocket science. If for some reason you don’t want to take my advice and watch The Wire, I suggest getting yourself over to Netflix and watching Forged in Fire, nothing makes downtime fly by like watching a show that is basically Chopped with blacksmiths.

Tip #5: Call Your Family

Ok this isn’t really a tip, it is just a reminder that I need to call my parents.

Tip #6: Do Something Creative

Maybe it is painting. Maybe it is making music or dancing. Maybe it is cooking something that you have never made before, or putting a new spin on an old dish. Maybe it is writing a snarky blog post about holidays in the hope of exposing your vulnerabilities in order to make people appreciate you while also trying to connect to people who may be having a hard time right now. Or maybe it is doing something slightly challenging that pushes you out of your comfort zone. The key is to make today slightly different than your normal routine. In a world gone made where we have spent the past 8 months living in the same cycle try something new, worst case you hate it, best case it makes today a little brighter than it could have been.

Happy Thanksgiving