My parents are divorced and estranged, so I grew up with my mom’s family. And her family tree is filled with even more divorce and hard feelings. It was hard to cultivate holiday traditions when relatives could disappear or be replaced from one year to another. My mother and I tended to change residences at least once a year, so every holiday was different from the previous. My sense of order and routine came from school. Because while I also bounced from school to school, I found that it was always the same, although sometimes the kids and teachers had different names. Even the holiday activities were always the same. Decorating shoe boxes for valentines in February. Cutting out shamrocks in March. Turkeys made of hand tracings and snowflakes cut from squares of white paper. This list always included the classic “I Am Thankful for _______” essay. It was always nice–perhaps even inspiring–to remind myself that I was thankful for my mom, grandma, various pets, and the Smurfs.
Even as an adult, I think it’s great to occasionally remind one’s self of all of one’s blessings. This exercise should extend beyond Thanksgiving. But lately, I often find myself having to remind myself of all of reasons I should be happy. Once this list was only recited at times of emergency or during particularly intense bouts of existential despair. But now I have to review it before I fall asleep. My career is on fire. On the train to work. My friends are amazing. When Facebook informs me that yet another friend has gotten married or pregnant. I live in a beautiful exciting city. When I feel lonely. Sandy is growing. Ugly. I’m healthy. Fat. My hair is great. Have you seen my wardrobe? And so on.
I SHOULD be so fucking stoked all the time. Because my life IS fabulous and productive. Moving to LA really has allowed me to make my dreams come true. I’m about to start a dream job next week. The latest issue of Sandy was off the proverbial hizzy. I have fun adventures every week. I make a decent amount of money. And I really am surrounded by talented, hardworking people.
So what’s my problem? Is it the chronic ennui of the privileged? Maybe. Yes. No. I’m not really sure.
I’m fucking lonely. And it makes me really, REALLY sad.