As I write this blog it’s Christmas Eve. I’m at my parents’ home in the suburbs of Philadelphia and in a few hours, my four siblings, their spouses, and their children will arrive for dinner. I’ll be the only person at the table without a spouse (or a date), and children. For even more context, I am the oldest of the Cevoli children, spanning 3 to 10 years differences.
I used to adore Christmas. Our family traditions of opening up one present on Christmas Eve, lining up youngest to oldest to come downstairs on Christmas morning, and taking turns opening presents. A few years ago, that all changed. I’m now the only one that sleeps over on Christmas Eve, and the gift-giving is now focused on the little ones.
Two Christmas’ ago I decided, well, I’ll stay in Los Angeles. I’ll make my own traditions. On Christmas Eve, I went to a friend’s house in the afternoon for a Star Wars movie marathon and then had Chinese take-out alone for dinner. On Christmas Day, I went to a meditation on the beach, and finished off the left-overs for dinner. My own traditions. The glaring omission of a Christmas tree, or wrapped presents in my home on Christmas day was sad and lonely. I made the best of it – I always do – but I decided then and there, that until I have a “family” of my own, and that could be anything from a relationship to a core group of friends to celebrate with, there was no point in staying alone in Los Angeles over the holidays.
So here I sit on the East Coast, contemplating relationships, dating, love, and family.
Let’s talk about family first. We are all born into families, and hopefully when you think of your family they (mostly) bring a smile to your face. My family is a relatively close family that spends a lot of time together. No one has moved more than 45 minutes away, except for me. I love my family, but outside of family traditions, and the love I feel for them, my hopes and desires for them to have the life they want and a pleasant enjoyable time of it, there’s not a whole lot of day to day experiences I have in common with them these days.
I hear a lot about family of origin and family of choice, and I see folks on the West Coast, that have “chosen” families that they spend their time with, with no regret, no worry, no looking back. I’ve always had a hard time with that. I’ve fallen in love with the www.Agapelive.com community a few times now. I’ve immersed myself in classes in the past, retreats, meditation groups, and have even spent a few holidays with the Agape Community. Yet, there’s always a little voice in my head whining that I should be with my “family”. And even more so with female mentors. Over the years, anytime a strong woman has come into my life as a guide, mentor, coach, I’ve always felt like I was cheating on my Mom by allowing another woman’s guidance into my life. And frankly, I’ve always felt a little jealousy come up from Mom, anytime an older woman has shown guidance in my life. That probably explains why, there aren’t any around these days; in my beginning days of Hollywood, I had quite a few awesome ladies take me under their wings. It’s something I’m reviewing still in my life; mentors and their positive effects, and why I’ve had them and lost them time and time again.
And what about relationships? Dating relationships. I know it sounds absurd, but I haven’t had a boyfriend, like a real boyfriend, someone you would even consider spending a holiday with, since about 2003-ish. The last time I actually spent a major holiday with a boyfriend and/or took a vacation with a guy was 2001.
Growing up, I was (and still am) a total romantic. My younger sisters used to joke with me that *every* guy I met was my new soul mate. And he was. But over the years, tragedy, betrayal, and just overall drama and chaos became the running theme of my relationships and somewhere around 2005 I shut down. I focused on healing work around love and forgiveness. I became heavily involved in spiritual teachings and then in 2007 while feeling good and hopeful and sure of myself, I let someone in, only to have it blow up in my face 2 months later. Boom! Shut down again. Healed. Rebuilt. Got myself in the best shape of my life. Career was booming, and then in 2009, the doozy of them all. A mixture of a “Catfish” relationship coupled with the biggest mind-games one could imagine, and I realized that my “picker”, my radar for a good guy, just doesn’t seem to exist. That failed attempt at love took me down for the count.
So here I sit, about to enter 2014, and although I’m a member of a few dating sites, and have gone on a handful of first dates here and there, it seems I’ve lost my spark for dating. I’m not sure how to flirt anymore, or who to flirt with, or how to seal the deal so to speak. I mean, if you put a gorgeous man in front of me, I can flirt, but if it were to go further, I’d probably avert my eyes, check my phone, or make some stupid excuse to walk away.
A gal I just met observed that in me, twice at a recent event we were at. She walked away to give me space to talk to a cute guy; and when I returned to her side she said, “Why did you walk away? He was interested in continuing the conversation.” She had observed our body language, and apparently I was the one that ended the conversation, perhaps too soon.
All this to say…. The holidays are an interesting time of year to be single. There is no special someone to buy gifts for, you’re on your own buying gifts, wrapping gifts, and attending parties solo as well. It takes effort to keep smiling while everywhere you look someone’s posting an engagement photo, celebrating a first Christmas together, or sharing an adorable family holiday card. It takes a lot of strength to keep smiling, to keep shopping, to keep in the “Christmas” Spirit. Believe me, I know!
Cherish the memories you’re making, whether with your family of origin or your family of choice, and please, if you are feeling down, like really down, reach out to someone. Depression and Suicide are very real things, especially during the holidays so reach out to someone before it gets that far. Call someone, anyone, text a friend, go to church, talk to your yoga teacher, sometimes all you need is a another being to talk to.
My wish from me to all of the other single gals and guys that may read this, is that you just keep smiling, that you focus on the giving spirit, and not the lack of romance or love that you may be experiencing, focus on the true meaning of Christmas; and hopefully like me you’ll get to spend time with tons of little ones to hug and love and give gifts to. And if there’s really no one out there for you to spend time with, I bet a visit to an orphanage or a children’s hospital to hug all the little ones there and bring a gift or two, will turn your frown upside down immediately. Be good to yourself. I know it’s a tough time of year to be single. I’m in it with you.
And maybe just maybe, by New Year’s Eve your dream person will be smiling into your eyes, and ready to give you a kiss as the clock strikes midnight. It could happen. I believe in Christmas miracles and I hope you do too.
Would love to hear how other singles are spending the holidays? Do you treat yourself to something fancy? Do you volunteer somewhere? What do you do to keep the holiday single blues away?