There is a surge in holiday hook-ups every year from November to February. For singles it often starts at the end of summer with a rush to find someone before we are inundated with family and holiday social events where everyone is inevitably paired off or married. With hoards of people getting off work for the holidays there is plenty of time to date, be with your mate and even take a vacation. The combination of social pressure and time makes for perfect "time-to-find-a-mate" scenario.
For some of us, myself included, we want more than just a holiday hook-up. We have been on the very long and tumultuous quest for finding the last date ever. After a very hard break up and a year off of dating seriously to get myself together, I was entering year two of not being in a committed monogamous relationship. I had finally resorted to praying I wasn't single for the holidays.
The anxiety of being single two years in a row, getting older but not officially old in dating ap terms( where age is a death sentence), combined with the inevitable scene of everyone who truly loves me asking, worrying and advising me about my love life was too overwhelming to handle.
Thanksgiving arrived before I realized it and I had never been more thankful I had gotten the stomach flu.
In usual fashion, an ex boyfriend who had supposedly changed showed up. After three casual meet ups, it was clear the only thing that had changed was his hair style. He was the same handsome, charming, emotionally unavailable person who claimed he wanted a serious relationship three years earlier. Closing this revolving door of, “hope for a better future” forever was a no-brainer.
Even though I was somewhat relieved I got the stomach flu (note the desperation to not show up to the holiday gatherings alone again) two days before Thanksgiving and had a viable excuse myself from the couple infused family Thanksgiving dinner, I was also miserable. Being unable to work and starring in my own version of The Exorcist for too many hours to count reminded me how sucky it is to be single when you are sick.
It’s Christmas soon. Then, New Year’s Eve. I should give up now, I thought.
As the holidays descend, I can feel the embarrassment, panic and hopelessness creeping in.
I console myself with mindfulness meditations, activities I enjoy and reality checks. I know all too well the games the mind will play. It is said that “A wandering mind is an unhappy mind.” However, I learned in a workshop on neuroscience, psychology and yoga a few weeks ago that the mind wandering is the cause not the consequence of unhappiness.
My mind was desperately trying to wander and set up residence in a place of desperation. When it comes to my love life, desperation has gotten me into trouble in the past. Hunting for love on a diet of desperation and fear is an explosion waiting to happen. Avoid desperation dating at all costs if you don’t want to have to clean up the mess afterwards, especially now.
I really do have mad love for the holidays though.
Even when I have to drag myself metaphorically kicking and screaming to celebrate them.
There have been times when the three wise men have been, grief, despair and hopelessness manifesting themselves in my body like 50-pound weights. When my broken heart or broken spirit desperately tried to swallow me whole and say, “Bah humbug!” or “Screw this year!”
I somehow always manage to rally despite myself. And it has taught me to appreciate what I have. During the holiday time, many of us feel our pain even more magnified as we are beckoned to review our lives. Appreciation and gratitude are not meant to ignore the pain or struggles we are in but it can lessen it.
It’s okay to allow ourselves to wish things were different, or even spend a moment or two in self pity (especially when we compare ourselves to other’s seemingly charmed lives on social media). But it’s a fine balance. Appreciation can keep us from getting submerged in our pain and disappointments.
Appreciation is understanding there may be no concrete solution or a clear path to resolution for our problems right now. Appreciation is the starting point that allows us to be with life as it is while we slowly work towards change. It reminds us to never completely shut the door on the light that is always trying to come in even when our backs are turned toward it. Appreciation is a journey that requires time for quiet self-reflection as well as friends or family who know when to hold our hands in just the right way when we really need it.
And so, in the spirit of appreciating what I have and what I’ve been through, and despite myself, I have decided to give online dating another chance sans holiday desperation and with a much clearer heart and head.
If we are single and looking for more than a holiday-hook up, here are some tips:
Whether we are looking for a holiday hook-up or something more serious this holiday season, knowing ourselves will be our greatest asset.
This is more than a cognitive and conceptual phrase that all too often sounds like, “I think I know who I am.” Having intellectual insight into our past experiences, dating or other, doesn’t necessarily create changes in the current and future ones.
True wisdom lands in the body, the mind, the heart and the disciplined actions we then take. So, to all the delicate hearts out there, including those of you who "think" you are strong, date wisely.
Author: Heather Dawn
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.