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It’s the Fourth of July and I have NO PLANS???

If you are like me you are finding out that your Fourth of July night may not be as exciting or glamorous as you might have hoped. A mix of procrastination and friends who are gone out of town has left you at home, on the couch with a now near-empty bag of Doritos, staring at your T.V. thinking, why me? why, oh, why God?!

Or even worse, you are scrolling through your Facebook feed and checking for updated Snapchat stories every five to ten minutes, comparing your seemingly miserable night to all the ” ‘Merica fun ” you’re seeing in the virtual world.

Wow, this night is going to suck

Growing up with a very small immediate family (mom, grandma, aunt, step-dad), I know all too well the feeling of being bored and lonely on a holiday. Thinking specifically about Christmas– the hardest holiday to get through– festivities usually last a few hours maximum and then I’m ready to get back to regular life. Sometimes it’s hard to not be resentful when I find myself playing Call of Duty or half-heartedly reading a book and I know (or at least I think) that everyone else is having tons of fun at great, big family get-togethers, drinking punch that may or may not be spiked and playing games and joking and laughing and all that warm, fuzzy, family holiday stuff.

Whether it’s Christmas or the Fourth, if you find yourself alone and not enjoying festivities its easy to fall into the mindset that there’s a huge party going on somewhere out in the world– all your friends are there, that person you’ve been crushing on is there, everyone is there– and you’re the only one not invited. You feel like you’re missing out on something HUGE, and you desperately would like to have different circumstances for your holiday.

You’re not the only one

Trust me when I say this, you are not the only one staying in tonight. I know I’m right because I am also staying in, so that’s two of us at least! (unless I am really the only one, then this would be a sad, sad day).

Seriously though, there are plenty of people taking it easy tonight. There are also tons of people who found themselves stuck at work all night; I know for sure of at least four pizza delivery drivers who will not be having “the time of their lives” tonight (although delivering pizzas is actually a pretty good gig).

My point is that you don’t need to feel sad and left out because today is just like any other day: things are happening in some places and not others, some people are partying and having a blast and others are working or taking it easy or, something we don’t often think about, are too busy struggling with other challenges that they don’t even have the chance to contemplate the fun they might be foregoing.

Be alone without being blue

I think it’s hard for most of us to spend time alone with ourselves and our thoughts. We are so used to being surrounded by others, whether that be at school or work, that when life finally slows down and we find ourselves alone and in our heads we kind of freak out. The mind can be a scary place if left unexplored and unfamiliar for a long time.

The key is, at least for me, to find something to immerse yourself in. The arts are a great method for putting yourself into something bigger than you and truly losing track of time and self. Some of these things for me would be reading, writing, playing guitar, singing, and drawing. Others may be watching movies, playing video games (which some would say is an art), and so many others. I don’t have a clue what you might be passionate about, but you do so get to it!

If none of the above options appeal to you then maybe you’d want to try a more physical activity, such as walking or biking. Generally I feel better after any sort of physical activity, regardless of how I felt beforehand. Even if I feel like complete sh*t, and don’t really care to move for any of the foreseeable future, I know that if I go to the gym and lift or go for a twenty to thirty minute run I will feel a night and day change in my level of energy as well as my overall levels of joy and positivity.

If, still, none of the above options sound fitting for you and your lifestyle then maybe take a little venture into your mind. Think about your life, either past or future. Think about all the people and things your thankful for in your life. This is one of the very best strategies I have ever found for changing my immediate outlook on a day, week, month, etc. We all have so many things to be thankful for, big or small, and it will do you worlds of good to consciously recount as many as you can and give thanks for them, whether that be thanks to God, to Earth, to your family, or to no one in particular. Constantly reminding myself of the positives in my life has dramatically flipped my perspective on most things and turned me from a pessimist into, well, not an optimist but a realist who, on a good day, leans more towards the optimistic side of things :).

If you still find yourself struggling then be assured of this one guarantee. Today is just that, it’s today. It will end and you will awake to a brand new day tomorrow, the ever-jealous Fifth of July! (and we think we have it bad…)

If you’ve made it this far then I thank you very much for reading. I hope you got something useful out of this post and maybe even had a better Fourth of July because of it 🙂

Happy Independence Day!