Recently, I visited friends who just welcomed their newborn son to their family. Greeted with a squeal, I looked down with joy to see that their two-year-old had wrapped himself around my leg. I would never have met his mom had it not been for the library. Living in a vastly technologically connected world, it could be argued that we may be at our loneliest points as individuals. For more than a decade, I’ve had the privilege of working for PPL. And, during this time, I’ve come to rely on some constants, including incredible colleagues and customers who have become friends. Even though we may not see each other so much outside of these walls, they keep me grounded when I feel that my earth may be a bit shaky.
Thanksgiving is rolling in, and not far behind, the major holiday season, which may be fraught with planning, shopping and deciding who we will make an effort to spend this time with. Getting together with family during the holidays has been a popular topic with authors like Anne Tyler, Jonathan Franzen, Rainbow Rowell, David Sedaris, and Truman Capote. As we begin to look ahead, it feels like an opportunity to look around, too. There’s a spot-on excerpt from Zadie Smith’s “On Beauty” describing what might be happening to others outside of your own circle, “This, after all, was the month in which families began tightening and closing and sealing; from Thanksgiving to the New Year, everybody’s world contracted, day by day, into the microcosmic single festive household, each with its own rituals and obsessions, rules and dreams. You didn’t feel you could call people. They didn’t feel they could phone you. How does one cry for help from these seasonal prisons?”
Feelings of loneliness and depression often have a solid footing as the Norman Rockwell, Hallmark notion of nuclear families coming together for the holidays is quickly thrust upon us. If you are fortunate to be spending time with your immediate family, check in on your friends, who, in the absence of geographically or emotionally absent relatives, assume the role of family in your life year-round. Whether your family is biological, chosen, or a mixture of the two, now is the perfect time to call. And, whoever you choose to have a meal with, keep in mind this gem from Oscar Wilde, “After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.”
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