Growing Pains: HolidaysPosted: November 11, 2009
Still in the throes of the infancy of adulthood, I find myself still struggling to get some adult-type things figured out. Some things, like paying bills, I have down pat. Other things, like grocery shopping, are still a bit of a mystery. It’s not that I don’t do it; it’s just that I don’t have much of a strategy.
Do you shop for particular meals? Should you focus on foods that don’t spoil quickly? How does the veritable cornucopia in my cart turn into pasta/rice, chicken and some vegetable multiple times a week? I just haven’t nailed this yet. On a semi-related note, the more time I spend at home in a professional and domestic capacity, the more I respect the crap out of stay-at-home spouses. Yikes.
Anyway, another of these “How does this work exactly?” scenarios is going home for the holidays, particularly Christmas. Up through college, it was generally assumed that you go home and spend the holidays with your family. This decision was expedited by the fact that you still lived there and wrote that address down when you had to fill forms out and such.
The first year after college, even if you have you own residence, going home was still the look because you were still basically in college minus all the great things that make up college and the nonplussing things that consist of the real world. But what about the few years after that as you begin to progress into actual non-collegiate adulthood? What about those years when you’re definitely not in college but you also aren’t established as an adult that other people take seriously?
As we know, Christmas (or ‘the holiday season’ for people who don’t get down with the Christ) is the big deal holiday on the family level. Sure, Thanksgiving dinner is generally bigger than the Christmas’, but that because Thanksgiving has more flexibility with who can be where. While it’s great to be with family, you can spend Thanksgiving with any array of people you care about with little incident. After Turkey Day, saying “I’m gonna spend the holidays with _____” to your family is a horse of a far different color. The expectation of being around changes dramatically. In fact, it’s so different in complexion that the question “What are you doing for Christmas?” from a member of your family sounds like grounds for treason.
My friend asked me this morning what the holiday protocol was for Christmas. I drew something of a blank. In attempting to come up with a logical response, I applied the scenario to my own life:
- Graduated 2007 (but was supposed to graduate in 2006 and, for whatever reason, that fact makes a difference)
- Moved out for real for real in 2008
- I co-habitate in a city four hours from home thus, there isn’t a financial obstacle
- I don’t have any dependents
- My mom does not play the “Unmarried? You can totally stay together in the same room in my house” Game, which, because I felt compelled to write it means it somehow factors into this scenario
- My actual birthday is on Christmas and I have spent every single year of my life at home on Christmas save one year we made a trip to Denver to visit family
- I’m not an established grown-up, but I do have student loans and health insurance concerns
My response: …When you’re married?