Surviving being alone during the holidays
I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving yesterday. Next in line is Christmas, as you all well know. This can be a very stressful time of year as you travel alone to places known for entertaining families. I travel to Florida once a month to help out my dad and I have found it very lonely to see all the families together, excited about going to see a large rodent, while I am totally alone. Here’s how I cope with the situation:
I find a nuclear family waiting at the same gate as my flight and engage them in conversation. It helps that I was an original cast member at Walt Disney World, since this lets me talk to them about their upcoming trip to see Mickey and the gang. Their eyes get big and I share some tidbit of what it was like to work for the mouse (it was fun!). This makes them feel good about their decision to go there and it gives me someone to talk to while we are waiting, without being creepy.
What if you have never worked in the place you are traveling to? Well, perhaps you could compliment the parents on how well-behaved their kids are or what intelligence they demonstrate (this works when little kids have a good vocabulary- studies show that it is a sign of intelligence). Parents will not generally stop you from talking when you are complimenting their kids! Do be sincere- don’t fake it. This will keep your mind off of your situation while allowing you to make a new but temporary friend.
I do not suggest striking up a conversation with someone who might misinterpret your friendliness, if you get my drift. Do not talk to children who are alone, though I once found it nice to talk to non-custodial parents about their young child who was flying alone. I promised to keep an eye on the child while making a point of not sitting with her on the plane. I gave the teary-eyed child a big “thumbs up” as I boarded the flight; she smiled because I was a familiar face by then. I did not see her again until the end of the flight, but she was happy to know that she knew someone on board.
I hope this helps and pray that you have a lovely holiday season.