culture & community health relationships & love sisterhood

Traditions for a Lonely Season

by Briana — December 15, 2014

It’s a little over a month into my boyfriend’s deployment and I’m learning the meaning of “lonely” in a whole different kind of way. I’ve found that it feels kind of like going through a breakup. There are the same pangs of longing that you can’t do anything about. There are the times where you want so badly to talk to them, to see them, but you can’t. Literally. There is no way to reach the person you love. There are good days, there are bad days. There are really bad days. And there are great days.

The holiday season and its traditions make missing him both more and less bearable. Here in Nashville it has been ultra gloomy lately – I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the sun once in the past 2.5 weeks – so that’s helping about as much as locking your car keys in the trunk helps you get to work. But the decorations, the lights, and the holiday spirit everywhere (even those kitschy turn-your-car-into-Rudolph kits) all make things a little brighter.

nashville forecast

The forecast for the next week doesn’t look much brighter. Pun very much intended.

When I was little, holidays always meant long road trips to see both sets of grandparents. We didn’t have many set traditions. Beyond the obligatory family-ness, the one thing that comes to mind is staying at the Drury Inn in Champaign, IL, mostly just to swim at their heated indoor-outdoor pool and marvel at swimming outside in 20 degree weather, banks of snow piled around the pool.

Now, as a 20-something vegetarian only child with no grandparents left, holiday traditions are simple and lovely, spent with my parents in the country. But this year, with the gloom of deployment and the general gloom of Nashville, I’m finding myself reaching for something extra to hold onto in this season of loneliness. In my searching, I remembered my list of personal commandments (as suggested by The Happiness Project). I’ve blogged about them before, but I’ve added on since then. And besides, I needed a little reminder of them, so I figured the short term collective memory of the blogosphere wouldn’t mind if I retouched them, either. They are everyday traditions, if you will, applicable to every season. Here they are, paired with some quotes that eloquently expand upon what I strive for in each personal commandment.

Let go.

Brian Andreas

From Story People, by Brian Andreas

Don’t be so fond of safety.

e.h. what if you fly Do what love requires of you.


Choose faith over fear.

faith over fear
Dust off your little-girl dreams.

she believed she could, so she did
If you want to say it, say it.

Cultivate gratitude with each step.

rejoice because thorns have roses
Live deliberately.

predict the future - create it

(that Abe Lincoln was a smart guy)

Honor uncertainty.

honor uncertainty Refuse to go backward.

build the new socrates Create blessings for generations.

blessings Pain isn’t a reason to stop.

pain teaches pema chodron

Choose authenticity over perfection.

create a life that feels good on the inside
Seek salty seas.

get out of your comfort zone
Make passionate mistakes.

make the whole pretty
Have the courage to start with nothing.

be stubborn about your goals and flexible about your methods
Arrange your space with grace and balance.

she wasn't doing a thing i could see except standing there leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together (jd salinger)

This is one of my favorite quotes of all time.

Here’s to making these commandments my everyday “traditions,” because you can’t just expect happiness delivered to your doorstep every morning.

You Might Also Like