Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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“Home” for the Holidays

As the holiday season comes around, so does the ambiguity of relationships. The levels of friendship, the severity of significant others, and the depth of family comes into play every year around this time in particular. There’s pressure to be with family, the pressure to be with friends, even the pressure to have the right plus one or have any plus one at all. 


Albeit stressful, this time of year is one of the few that make all the other crazy days worthwhile by giving us something to look forward to. Regardless of what or how you celebrate around this time of year, the common denominators of good food, good times, and good people still remain the goal. But, because this is reality and people suck sometimes, you’ll get some improper fractions from these common denominators.


Being a product of a large family, I can sympathize with those who don’t have the best relationship with everyone, and honestly, that’s the toughest pill to swallow. Simply accepting that things aren’t going to be 100% smooth 100% of the time is probably one of the hardest factors of growing up.


To be fair, the older I get, the more I understand that the family you’re born with isn’t necessarily the same family you grew up or grew out with. We organically build bonds over time with other people, and sometimes they outweigh the relationships we were designated or arranged to be a part of from birth. For example, I come from a very large family, like 23 great Aunts and Uncles type large. Every reunion we go to, I have an abacus to count up all the new kids whose parents I can’t connect the dots to. Even though I can’t name them all, I genuinely love every one of them. Granted, I don’t necessarily like all of them all the time, but that’s normal, or I feel like it at least should be. Maybe it’s a generational thing but the saying “you have to love them because they’re family” definitely doesn’t mean you have to like them all the time. People tend to use that label of “being family” or “being related” as a hall pass to say or do whatever it is they feel like, and that’s just not how this works. Cross anybody one too many times, and that bridge is burned, they may still send a carrier pigeon over a few times, but that’s about it. 


As the saying goes, thoughts and prayers from a distance. 


As harsh as it sounds, I truly feel like, in some instances, that would be the healthiest approach during this time of year. Don’t try and force your way in or force somebody else into something in the name of holiday cheer. Cut you a slice of pie and go sit down somewhere. You may never know how somebody feels or why they feel that way, and that’s completely okay. They, just like you, have a right to their own thoughts and feelings. 


Like I said before, family is family, but that’s not a viable reason to self-sabotage your way through the Holidays or life in general. Our family members are still human beings, and human beings are far from perfect in every sense of the word. 


For example, if you’re a believer, you’ve been taught your entire life that we were made in His image while being given dominion over OUR choices. Whichever path we take is up to us but continue to have the faith that His guidance will light the path. Do you know how many paths  7.7 billion-plus people can make and take?!?!  Way too many paths to lose sight of your own trying to get somebody else to like yours, let alone follow it. 


So this Holiday season, I ask you to please enjoy YOUR company. Be with YOUR people. Do what makes YOU happy and stop trying to convince others that you pass their vibe check.


Enjoy the Uncles as they reminisce about the glory days while trying to remember “that one year Chevy made that thing,” and they “took ole girl to the movies with $10”. Laugh with all the Aunts as they judge the worthiness of outfits and try to figure out who’s “Lil Friend” has her shoulders and knees out around the food and why. Go ahead and check in on the random room full of babies napping as the parents catch a break. Run with all of the kids outside getting those good shoes dirty even if you’re grown, show them you still got it. Bring something to drink with you as the cousins and friends  (plus that one really cool Uncle) take “the walk” before it’s time to eat. 


Celebrate life with the people who add positivity to yours and their own. Build relationships worth building and remove those not worth keeping. Life is too short, and the “itis” naps are getting longer. 


Malcolm Anderson 

Malcolm Anderson is a Cum Laude graduate of Reinhardt University. From the beginning of his education, the ideas of creativity and ever-expanding curiosity were instilled in him. He loves working with children and helping them believe that they can do anything they put their mind to, a lesson he was taught from an early age. Although his focus is on Sports Media, Malcolm has been writing for various mediums over the past few years and aims to expand his repertoire in an effort to reach as many people as possible. 


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