Why I Opted Out of Thanksgiving This Year

I spent Thanksgiving alone this year. By choice.

Basically, this year has beaten me down so much that I was in no mood for celebration.

Except for a four-day temp assignment last month, I’ve had no paying work since June. I was doing some work for a weekly magazine—but they dropped me as soon as I demanded to be paid for the several outstanding invoices that had accumulated as the payments became fewer and farther between. I’ve been sending out resumes at every available opportunity, but with very few responses. I’ve had a few interviews; either they tell me I’m “overqualified”, or they don’t bother to call me back.

My wife and I separated in October, and we’ll be getting a divorce. We’d pretty much been leading semi-separate existences the last couple of years anyway, so it definitely couldn’t have gone on much longer—and in some ways it’s a relief—but it’s still a huge change, a major disruption.

We’re going to be selling our house, but, through bad timing and a series of misadventures, we haven’t been able to do any of the work needed to get everything looking nice and pretty before putting it on the market.

I need to find a new place for me and our two cats—especially since the work we need to do to the interior of the house (i.e., some paint touch-ups and cleaning) can’t be done until I’m out (I’m sensitive to a lot of the chemicals in cleaning agents and the solvents in paint), and the showings and open houses can’t be held while the cats (strictly indoor) are still here.

Unfortunately, my lack of any kind of regular/steady income will make it extremely difficult to get into a new place. Most of the places I’ve seen listed require proof of employment and sufficient income. Some places will rent to the unemployed—but only if they’ve got money in the bank. One place I started looking into requires an unemployed applicant to have “at least 36 times monthly rent” in the bank—roughly $45,000. I don’t know anyone with a job who has that much money in the bank.

With all this on my mind, there was just no way that I could have been involved in any sort of celebration. Even if I had gone somewhere, I would not have been fully present; my mind would have most definitely been elsewhere.

So, I stayed home. I got around to doing the shredding I’d been putting off for far too long, updated my checkbook, and watched a little bit of TV. I had some of yesterday’s soup for dinner, and a couple of pieces of pumpkin pie for dessert, then had a nap. Just a nice, quiet day with no stress.

It was the right choice.

(November 22, 2012)