Saturday, November 21, 2009

Two-Day Work Week, Five-Day Weekend

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches I have a five-day holiday, a gift from our ministry’s board of directors. They can’t give holiday bonuses. I’ve never actually had a job that did. But they do sometimes reward us with time off.

It’s not the reward I would choose, really; I never manage to use all the vacation time we get, already. But I’m game to see what I can make of it. And as my regular readers know, Thanksgiving – and especially the long break – can be a difficult time for me. It’s hard not to fall into the traps of loneliness and self-pity. I’m looking for strategies that might go a long way toward disarming both of those traps more permanently. But more about that later.

This year I was tickled when my friend L. said, a month or so ago, “Guess who’s coming to Thanksgiving? My parents! … Wait, you are coming too, aren’t you?” How nice to be not just included as a charity case but really and personally wanted and expected to be there. They would have let me off the hook if I wanted to go elsewhere, of course, but I’ve really enjoyed spending such holidays with L.’s family and friends. I think this will be my third Thanksgiving with them.

So, with cooking, and a little Macy's parade thrown in, that's my Thursday.

Now what to do with Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday? It’s hard to know what I’ll want to do with my break until I’ve had the time to unwind and consider – something I also long for. With this weekend pretty full I may not begin the week as refreshed as I will be after the break has begun.

But I would not be at all surprising to wake up Friday dreading the big open space.

Five days of uncharted water is usually too much for me to relish.

I’m afraid I’ll feel more lost and depressed than free and blessed. But this is not inevitable.

How much we all want to be simultaneously included and independent: both safe and free. I picture a child flying high on a swing-set, insisting to the adult at hand to keep pushing her higher. What a wonderful joyous feeling it is to soar like that. But – especially if you are little – it is either impossible to do alone, or a lot less fun.


Megan Noel said...

oh goodness. i really would trade places w / you. i am sorry that's not possible! i am sure there is some novel or movie where twins swapped bodies. though i must say the only thing i am REALLY looking forward to about thanksgiving with jesse's family is his 2-year-old niece. then we see mom on friday.

you remember how wonderful all of mom's weaving friends were / are? i find artists and craftspeople to be a really welcoming lot. maybe if you have time next year you'll get out that spinning wheel or decide to attempt knitting again. there are lots and lots of knitting groups that meet regularly all over the country! and i met my best girlfriend in a bead class, of course. mom seemed interested in going out to the island over the holidays, if you'd like to.

Marti said...

Have a good thanksgiving, Meg!

There's an artsy lady at my church who is eager to get together and hang out. She's a big Madeleine L'Engle fan, among other things. Also a professional quilter. Widowed not too long ago. Has long grey hair that she wears in a ponytail down her back. You'd like her. And often when I go to Tattered Cover I'll see knitting ladies there. Sadly, I am not very artsy-craftsy myself, but you're right, it would probably not be hard to find a class / club to take me in and teach me if I found something up my ally. And there's always the Creative Memories types. Though my impression is that they are less my type.