Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Giving Thanks for Being Single
In case you haven't heard, Thanksgiving is being choked to death by the inundation of Christmas. By next year, it may well pass into extinction as we pardon all turkeys in favor of consumerism. Just in case that happens, I figured I'd better pay tribute to this blink-or-you'll-miss-it American holiday. For me, this has always been a time to gather with family and eat lots of good food. For us singles without a family, I've discovered over the years that Thanksgiving can also be one of the most depressing times of the year. So, I'm here to prove that no matter what kind of trials you might be facing right now, there is always something, SOMETHING you can be grateful for and here's my list:
First, I want to share this quote by Spencer W. Kimball
Now I want to alter that first part, just slightly, replacing "happiness" with "singleness"
"Some think of singleness as a glamorous life of ease, luxury, & constant thrills;"
How many people do you know who believe your single life is filled with lots of free time and that being single, without the responsibilities of spouse or children means your life is just one big thrill ride? Mine is. Really, I'm serious! I live a life of ease and luxury. Take my cinder-block one bedroom apartment for example. A small castle compared to what people in some third world countries are forced to live in. I should count my blessings.
Reason #1 My Favorite Activities
I'm happiest when I'm in the middle of at least three books and right now I have FOUR! I'm currently enjoying: Behind the Scenes at Downton Abbey, The Fault in Our Stars (for the adolescent lit class I'm taking this semester at the U) Work and the Glory Vol 7, and the latest Anita Stansfield in case I get bored because her writing just isn't what it used to be ten years ago. Then there's all the DVDs in my private collection I'm trying to find time to watch. A life of ease and luxury to read and watch whatever I want in my free time means that, yes Michelle, you really do live a life of ease and luxury. So count your blessings!
Reason #2 Nephews! Anyone who knows me shouldn't be surprised so see this on my list.
Disclaimer: Calvin means no disrespect toward the Asian culture, he's six and this was the only picture we could get him to stand still for. His little brother, Charlie, (nineteen months) is still trying to figure out how he got stuck with these weirdos. ("Help me")
I have been asked to babysit on Thanksgiving morning so my sister can run a half marathon to raise money for the Utah Food Bank called The Utah Human Race which sounds more like a fake charity from a Seinfeld episode. (The Human Fund anyone?) Her hubby, Aaron, will be playing touch football that morning with friends, an annual Thanksgiving tradition. I'm happy to help out. Any excuse to spend time with my favorite nephews means I have two more reasons to give thanks during this time of year.
Reason #3 Disneyland or Spending Time With Family
I've been pretty busy since my last post, living a life of ease and luxury means I had the money and opportunity to take a little trip with some of my family.
Coming to Disneyland with “the rugrats” beat every previous trip I’d ever taken. As we strolled along to the next ride, Calvin swung my hand and said, “You and Mike are my favorite aunt and uncle.” I was reminded why I hadn’t been here for so many years. Disneyland is for the kids and if you don’t have any of your own, go kidnap some and experience all the joy of the happiest place on earth. I never want to come here again unless I have children to share it with.
I hadn't been to Disneyland since 1996! We took two days and since it was off-season I got to go on several rides more than once. I went on rides my single adult friends and I always felt silly being seen on without kids, like Peter Pan's Flight and the Teacups. I rode Pirates three times and loved the addition of the Johnny Depp animatronic. California Adventure was great. I rode the roller coaster twice. Star Tours is Calvin's favorite ride and I like the new feature of a different mission, much to the dismay of C-3PO, every time you go. The only ride I didn't enjoy as much was the new holiday themed Haunted Mansion. I like Nightmare Before Christmas but letting the characters from the movie take over the ride was a bad idea. I'll have to come back during the Spring off-season and see if it's the same ride I loved as a young adult with the ghosts projections and fun theme music. Taking baby Charlie on King Triton's Carousel and Winnie the Pooh really made this trip the best one I'd ever taken. My favorite brother, my sister's family and my favorite nephews. Not a bad trip and one of the best excuses to be grateful now that the year is almost over.
Reason #4 Enjoying God's Creations
In the quiet solitude of my second story apartment, I recently hung a small birdfeeder outside my kitchen window and have become quite an expert birdwatcher. I can identify male and female house sparrows and finches. Warning: those birds are pigs! Capable of emptying the feeder in just a few days! I've also seen black capped chickadees and I've startled many mourning doves who like to glean the ground below for any scraps. The guidebook Backyard Birds of Utah is one of the best resources for learning more about these small creatures who remind me that I'm just as important in God's eyes as they are.
and finally Reason #5 Dating: One Long, Constant, Thrill Ride
His name was Michael. The blind date was arranged by my female boss at work. When you get to be my age, any matchmakers with good intentions are convinced that if he's "really nice," has some kind of steady income, is still upright with a pulse and still not married that we're perfect for each other. I hadn't been out on any kind of date, let alone a blind one, since 2009 and because my life is one constant thrill ride, I agreed to meet him. She suggested we attend the annual IHC Food Service Workers Employee Appreciation Dinner where we could meet and be properly introduced, just like something out of a Jane Austen novel. When I called to let him know where to meet me, I had to explain to him exactly where the thirteen story flagship hospital, visible from all over the valley, was located. Ok, maybe he was new to the area, give him a chance, Michelle.
"How was the date?" You ask.
Well, the food was good.
"Yes, but what was he like? Did you hit if off? Did sparks fly? Did you hear heavenly choirs of angels sing as your eyes met across the crowded room?"
Well, he was tall.
He also owns his own house. That's an important plus for singles but having common interests should also rank high on the list of "Potential Qualities I'm Looking For in a Future Husband" and, I'm sorry to admit, he came up lacking in a lot of ways. He took some classes many years ago at the U but dropped out, served an LDS mission but was shy admitting just how long ago that was. He has two jobs: one working nights at the neighborhood Chevron gas station while the rest of his free time he spends caring for his neighbors' miniature horses in the equestrian neighborhood he resides in. It was obvious he loved his job with the horses, bragged about how they were just like children but I discovered he's no Robert Redford. I asked him, straight out, outside of taking care of these darling horses, did he have any other hobbies or outside interests to which he frankly replied, "No."
I was tempted to ask if he acted out scenes from Equus for the horses but he probably wouldn't have gotten the reference anyway. The date ended and I probably won't loose any sleep if I never see him again.
So, I can be grateful for opportunities to meet lots of...um, interesting? people and even more grateful that I'm not expected to marry any of them. I'll just keep telling myself that one day I'll have lots of entertaining stories to tell my future grandchildren for many Thanksgivings to come.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!