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Wed28Jul2021

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How to convince mom I'm not depressed about spending Christmas alone

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Im thinking of not flying home for Christmas this year and spending the holidays mostly alone, which is a little sad but I'm not super depressed about it. How can I help my mom not worry about that? I'm an American living abroad, multiple hours by plane from where my parents live. I'm in my mid-20s and until now have always spent the holidays with my parents and siblings. But this year, it's looking like it probably makes more sense for me to stay here where I live rather than traveling home (quarantine logistics plus border crossings with a temporary work permit are not super appealing to me in these times). Although I'm certainly sad about this, I'm not, like, horribly depressed about it -- in fact, I'm also a little excited to do something different and have the freedom to celebrate exactly the way I want.

But I floated the possibility over the phone with my mom yesterday and she was not super thrilled. Of course because she misses me and she has a vision of us all spending the holidays together. But I think she also worries that I'll be super sad and lonely in this city all by myself, which isn't really the case. How can I help her not worry so much about that?

It's tough to explain because yeah, I am upset about not seeing my family (especially because we're scattered and Christmas is the one time of year we all get together). I miss them, and we have a lot of warm fuzzy holiday traditions that we do together, and when I think about not getting to do those this year, I get very sad. It would also be really nice to decompress with family in person after this hellhole of a year. I hate that COVID is making it so difficult to do ordinary things that bring joy. And I'm sure that if I stay here there will be parts of the holidays where I'm lonely.

But at the same time... I never get to just do my own thing for the holidays, and I kind of want to this year. I'm very different from my family in certain ways and I start feeling restless after spending too long with them. I'm excited to get my own tree and decorate it, and spend a cozy winter in my own apartment and take long walks around the city. Maybe I'll even get a white Christmas (it doesn't snow where my parents live). I live alone and don't have a partner at the moment so if I stay here I will be spending the holidays mostly alone, but I will also spend a lot of time with my best friend who lives in my city, and see a few other friends as well. I dunno, it just sounds kinda nice and chill and relaxed, and much more appealing than spending 4 weeks of my winter in full quarantine.

I've been very open with my parents about my struggles with anxiety & depression in the past, and they've been very supportive, but as a result my mom (who's a worrier) is constantly super concerned about my mental state. I've made a lot of major improvements recently, and despite struggling earlier in the pandemic, my mental health right now is the best it's ever been. Although spending the holidays here alone is a little bit sad, I am not at all worried that it will send me into a major depression or anything like that.

I haven't made a final decision yet but definitely leaning towards staying put for the holidays. But I'm struggling with how to express these feelings to my mom -- yes, I love you and I love spending the holidays all together, but also please don't worry about me, I am really honestly not depressed about staying here. I'm not sure what I can say to here that will put her at ease. Any ideas?


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