I got asked yesterday if I was going to host Thanksgiving this year. I used to host it every year, for a fairly large group of people. I think I’ve done it around 15 times. Maybe not quite that many, but it’s got to be close. And I used to really enjoy it. It started as just our family and a friend who didn’t want to attend his family’s dinner and then it grew into the no-relatives or after-relatives celebration. Many years it was preceded by a Wednesday night out on the town. But last year I cancelled about a week before. I had honestly wanted to cancel the year before because my daughter had been sick the week of Thanksgiving, but everyone freaked out about where they would go so I hosted anyway, but last year I just didn’t want to. Alex had been having a really rough time at school including getting suspended and the people who were my friends and supposed to be on my side when it came to this sort of thing were decidedly NOT, so I didn’t want to spend time with them. One of my other friends had been recently fired and was showing up at my house unannounced whenever she felt like it and I really didn’t want to schedule a day with her either. Throw in friend whose boyfriend I don’t like and friend whose kid I don’t like and hosting really just wasn’t something I wanted to take on last year at all. So I didn’t. I think my husband and kids were a little disappointed, because it usually is a pretty big party. But I was super relieved. I enjoyed just being able to cook what I wanted and not having to referee my three women friends who don’t really like each other while finding something my friend’s picky teenager will eat, and keeping another teenager from being bored while keeping my own teenager from driving people crazy talking about super hero movies and star wars. It was so nice not to have to be “on” all day, you know? So I don’t know if I’ll host this year. Just thinking about it kind of makes my stomach hurt.
Since last Thanksgiving I sort of had a wake-up call about how I spend my time, too. My friends would probably say that’s about when I started acting “weird” or “depressed”. But that’s not really what happened. I just realized that I didn’t want to spend my time doing things I didn’t really enjoy. And I don’t really enjoy drinking anymore (kind of weird, actually, as I used to be quite the wine snob) especially not getting drunk and that’s basically all my one friend does for fun (she seriously just uploaded a picture of drinks to her Facebook five minutes ago). And I don’t enjoy people who only talk about themselves and make everything about them, and I don’t enjoy people who make themselves a martyr all the time, and I REALLY don’t enjoy people who feel the need to make themselves smarter or better at my expense (even if the think they’re being helpful). So around Thanksgiving last year I started spending a lot less time with people. I accepted fewer invitations to hang out at people’s houses or to go out for coffee and I started shopping on my own. And I actually like it quite a bit. Now everyone calls me a hermit because I “never” go out. But I do, I just go on my own. Or I go places with Audrey, which is usually more fun than most grown-ups I know anyway.
Its been kind of interesting, this distancing. I think there is a lot of talk of me being depressed, but I’ve checked in with the doctor about it a few times and she doesn’t think so, and I don’t either. I’m actually pretty comfortable with myself. I don’t feel like I need anyone’s attention or approval, I can just do what I want. I definitely don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. I mean how many stories about boyfriends or drunken escapades does a person really need to hear anyway? It’s not that I’m incapable of listening and being a friend when someone needs truly needs one. I just resent having my time wasted. If you don’t want my input don’t tell me how mad you are at your boyfriend (who you have gotten back together with more times than I can count). And don’t assume that, at 40+, I am interested in your sex life. And keep your backhanded concern: “I just don’t know how you manage on one income” to yourself as well. Maybe I am turning into a crabby old lady? If so, I guess I’m fine with that.