Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

What defines a life?

Am I defined by my work? Am I defined by my family? Am I defined by my friends? Am I defined by my relationship or lack thereof? Am I defined by where I live?

As Thanksgiving approached Wednesday night I was depressed. I missed my family. The holidays always bring out that emotion in me. I'm sure I'm not the only person who feels sad without their family during the holidays. However, I began to think about my life and how I respond to situations like this.

Many times leading up to Thanksgiving I posted a status update on facebook about needing something to do on Thanksgiving. A few people reached out who were going to be out of town and one person reached out with an invitation to attend an Orphans Thanksgiving at her apartment. There was also a Thanksgiving dinner at New World Stages for all the employees who couldn't/didn't go home or had to work that evening's performances.

I don't know why this should be a defining moment, but searching around for plans on a holiday makes me realize just how alone I am here.

I wanted to live on my own and as of July I am living on my own. I'm not always lonely, but I'm alone. Being alone can be a good thing. It can be okay. I can be sad and depressing. It can be necessary. It can be lonely. It can be fantastic.

I was hoping to spend Thanksgiving in Boston with one of my best and dearest friends. This was an idea that was running rampant in my mind. I wasn't invited. I was going to invite myself if he and his husband didn't have plans. Turns out they did have plans. So my imaginary trip to Boston faded like a curtain that always hangs in the sun. My other best friend and I are estranged right now and he went to California anyway, so there were two reasons that hanging with him was never even an option.

Many members of my family went to my parents house. That coupled with the fact that I'm having such difficulty finding a flight home for Christmas added an extra layer to my depression. I honestly don't understand why I can fly to Asia for less money than I can fly across my own country. It's so sad. The airlines know that people want to be with their families and that the seats will sell, but they insist are charging higher prices instead of reasonable prices. I digress.

Wednesday night I bought cinnamon rolls for Thanksgiving breakfast and a split of champagne to mix with my OJ for mimosas. The cinnamon rolls were a nod to my mom and the mimosas were a nod to me. Traditions are important to me. If I had been at my parents house, cinnamon rolls would have been served for breakfast this morning. So, I got them for myself and threw in the added touch of mimosas. I prepared my coffee with half-a-pack of cocoa mix and french vanilla creamer for the rolls, but when noon hit, I poured a mimosa.

I straightened up around my apartment. I traded out summer clothes for winter clothes on the racks in my closet. I called my family. I spoke to my mom briefly. I spoke to my sister, my cousins Casey and Whit, and my niece Abbi, and nephew Dylan. I realized I left my dad out of the conversation so I called back and spoke to him for a while. I spoke to Neal earlier in the day and sent Matt a text.

Two mimosas and two glasses of wine later it was time to head to Queens to hang out with Susan.

I arrived at Susan's apartment and there were no lights on in the stairway. I held on to the railing, lit my blackberry, and wound my way up the stairs. I found someone in the stairway that was talking on his phone who just happened to be a guest at Susan's gathering. He pointed me to the door. I was the fourth guest at the table of five. Susan was in the kitchen whipping up meringue. I joined Kim, Erin, and Chris in the living room for some wine and conversation.

When the preparations were complete and most of the food was moved to the table we had one problem. Who was going to carve the turkey. None of us had ever carved a turkey. Erin stepped up to the proverbial plate. She began cutting around the leg and decided she would call her dad and ask his advice. Knife and fork in hand and cell phone positioned between ear and shoulder, our turkey went from golden bird to succulent cuts of white meat. Platter filled and moved to table we began our Orphans Thanksgiving. Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, homemade cranberry sauce, and rolls. Good conversation, good food, and friendship is what Thanksgiving should be about. I'm thankful for the fact that I had friends, old and new, to be with.

Post dinner and pre dessert we sat around watching Friends Thanksgiving episodes. That was like hanging out with old friends in and of itself. I laughed so much. I haven't watched Friends in ages. Who knew it could be so fun to watch those episodes on the actual day? During the viewing party, dessert made it's way to the table. There was pumpkin pie, chocolate fudge pie, apple crumble, sweet potato pie (topped with Susan's meringue courtesy of Paula Dean), two other desserts that I can't remember and a pot of coffee. We filled plates and coffee mugs and settled in for more Friends. At this point, three more of Susan's friends dropped by.

All in all, it was a fantastic day.

I don't know what this has to do with defining my life, but we are defined by the things we do. I was trying to find something to do which made the line of my definition blurry and confusing.

Maybe I don't want to be defined at all.