For the past few weeks, casual phrases such as “Hello” and “Goodbye” have been replaced by “Happy Holidays.” Friends, co-workers, cashiers at the grocery store…everyone feels compelled to say “Happy Holidays” and of course, I respond with the obligatory “Happy Holidays” or “Same to you.”  I tell you, I can’t wait for the “holiday season” to be over. Dead.  Done with.

Outside of getting time off from work (which, believe me, is TRULY needed and appreciated) this time of year isn’t all that happy for me; and I know I’m not the only person who feels this way.  I can barely muster up the requisite “joy” for the sake of the children, which everyone is quick to inform me I must do.  Whatever. I stayed in my pajamas on Christmas day.

Don’t get me wrong – I know that I am blessed to have a home, food, clothing, a job, my physical health, etc. and I do not take any of that for granted at all. I am grateful everyday, even when it may not seem like it.  Still, the holidays serve as a huge reminder to me of what I no longer have – parents and a romantic relationship.  When I’m thinking of gift-giving, I can no longer wonder what to get my Dad, or if my Mom will like what I chose for her.  I have no significant other (not even any prospects) to gift with a sweater/watch/cologne/Kama Sutra kit.  I love my children; but they are no replacement/consolation for either.

I know I’m not the only one who doesn’t jump for joy around this time of year.  Some people have Seasonal Affective Disorder and thus for them, the issue is biological. For others, the holidays bring up a sense of loss and/or loneliness. For me, it’s probably a combination of the two. Some people feel financial pressure to gift more than they can afford. Whatever the reason, everybody’s holidays aren’t gonna be happy.

That ever present “Happy Holidays!” refrain can be almost as grating to my ears as the Salvation Army bell. (No disrespect, but that bell is annoying.) People say it on auto-pilot, just as they say “How are you?” knowing they don’t really care. I know people mean well; I’d just rather not hear it. I hate to sound like Scrooge or the Grinch – just keeping it real.

Be who you want to be today.