table for one
I was invited to a tasty meal with interesting guests this Thanksgiving, and I’m glad I went, but as I was rushing to get there, I did think, “I could be happy spending this day alone.” I had a pile of movies and books on my table and had already been to a demanding dance class in the morning. I could have curled up with a book and been contented and snug with my own company.
For the past several years, while I’ve eaten the actual Thanksgiving meal with friends, I’ve refused to travel to see family. I absolutely love this time of year in L.A. and having four days off to myself to enjoy it without the usual traffic hassles.
In the past, I did actually travel to Canada once on a solo journey over a long Thanksgiving weekend:
“At a time when too many people are feeling hyper-connected, overstimulated, too busy and too hassled, what could be more dreamy than spending an entire day completely on your own, doing whatever you want, whenever you want?” says Bella DePaulo, who teaches psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara and is the author of Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After. “Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that are highly scripted. You are supposed to spend it with other people — especially with family. All jokes and sitcoms aside, you are supposed to want to spend it that way.”
But a lot of Americans are celebrating by themselves because of demanding jobs, challenging schoolwork, family tensions or the expense of travel. Some don’t care for all the dinner-table questions people ask, or the political talk, or the meat-and-sweet potatoes menu, or the lame jokes; some people prefer going on nature hikes or biking or snowboarding or strolling around empty cityscapes on Thanksgiving Day. A few are even crossing over to Canada, where it’s just another Thursday.