Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Surviving Thanksgiving Alone

My friend Sharon just called. It is so rare to have a phone conversation these days, the simple act of breathing and swallowing between sentences feels like a refresher course from 1989 scuba diving training.

We both confessed we often don't hear from each other for weeks sometimes, simply because we are too Debbie Downer to enter anyone's world. So we just shut up and shut down. Go off the radar.

For me, that pretty much describes the past 24 hours.

It started with a 3:30am airport run (did you read that, folks? 3:30 A.M.!) to send my husband and oldest son off to Maui. Luke and the Vanderbilt Commodores play in the prestigious Maui Invitational basketball tournament all week. I am happy for my whole family; sad for me. (We are in the last 3 days of a ratings period, so I have to stay in Nashville.)

I will confess, this text from my daughter almost made it ALL better.

I've felt anxious about this week alone for at least the last 3 months. It's likely why I have taken so many trips of late, hoping the binge travel would sustain me through these days flying solo.

To keep from tumbling into a dryer-load of despair, I checked out a fresh batch of books to keep my dopamine pumping. I learned last weekend at a local TedX event, where those 12-20 minute "ideas worth sharing" lectures come from, that learning something new "lights up" the brain and spikes dopamine production.

It's much like traveling, laughing, and deep talks with my family and friends do for me.

Which brings me back to being alone.

Why does it bother me so?

Perhaps it's due to growing up with a house full of siblings and a steady stream of people in the house...which then morphed into a full house with my own children.

My Wing Siblings & their kids

Perhaps it's what my brother and I call the "Wing Discontent" rearing its cruel and ugly head, our constant battle for stimulation, evolution, and purpose.

However, in just the last few hours while listening to one of my newly check-out books on tape, it occurred to me perhaps it's more deeply rooted.

Oprah writes in "What I Know for Sure" that each of us at our core longs to be valued:  "The yearning to be heard and loved is so strong, we seek it wherever we can get it."

Oprah admits she didn't feel loved -- and thought she'd make people approve of her by being an achiever. Until she learned the following:

"The love and approval I craved could not be found outside myself. A lack of intimacy is not distance from someone, it's disregard for yourself....You don't have to spend one more second deprived of the affirmation you should have gotten from your parents.  Look inward. The loving begins with you."

Whoa.  Is this my over-arching issue? If so, what do I do now?

This morning I took a step in the right direction. I scheduled an early shoot to get dressed, out of the house, and surrounded by PEOPLE, followed by a live radio interview to talk about the Nashville Rescue Mission and its upcoming Hearts for Hope luncheon on Valentines Day.

Post-interview fun on the Michael DiGiorno show
I also vowed to journal what I'm grateful for.

"Gratitude can transform any situation. It is the quickest, easiest, most powerful way to affect change in your life," the Queen of Talk insists.

Care to join me?

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