Tomorrow would be the first day of Chinese New Year. Today being the Chinese New Year eve is a very important day for family get together. The media are filled with warm messages of family ties and love during this season, as with all other major celebrations like Christmas.
However I personally know of a few people who would be spending this festive season alone. Each is due to different reasons and circumstances.
Some folks though, prefer to be alone by choice instead of going through all the socialising. I am one of them and it took me a long long time to realize that it is okay to feel like this.
My mom’s friend, in her 70s shared with me that from young, she had to follow her mother for visiting during Chinese New Year. She never liked those outings even though it would be something that every kid would look forward to. She said it has been such a long time that she stopped following the tradition or going with the flow, ie CNY must go visiting or buy a new attire. She prefers to stay at home by herself and if she is bored, she would watch TV.
Some people have that nature, you can call them introverts or loners but they do not fit into the mould of society.
Not long ago my long time friend who has migrated overseas asked if I would miss Chinese New Year since I am not in the country during the celebration. Her family has migrated for over 2 decades and she really miss the festival in our country.
When I was a child, the Chinese New Year is something I look forward to because it would means that I get to wear new clothings, go visiting, eat unlimited amount of tidbits and get ang pao.
My mom would also order a crate (24 bottles) of soft drinks consisting of sarsi, orange crush, Coca Cola, Miranda and other flavours. When I got older, she allowed me to select my favourite drink. I used to choose the Orange Crush. Until today, when I drink the orange carbonated beverage, I am instantly reminded of the happy feelings I get associated with Chinese New Year.
Not long after I graduated, my dad passed away from stroke. And within the span of 5 years, three of my mom’s closest sisters passed away one after another (nose cancer, dementia related complication and stroke respectively). There was really not many relatives we could go back to visit.
Eventually when my career path progresses and I got busier, I started to prefer to use the holidays…. Just to rest and recuperate. Prior to the festive season, my workload would be real hectic and on top of that I had to help my mom with the preparations. I would be so busy on the eve of Chinese New Year doing last minute cleaning, helping my mom with prayer items offering, etc that I often worked till almost midnight. As the first day of Chinese New Year we are not supposed to sweep or mop.
Then for that few days, I would just relax. Watch TV like whole day or binge watch drama series. It felt almost strange to do nothing but rest and watch TV the whole day. I would usually resume work by the 4th day of Chinese New Year. Many colleagues are away on holidays so my phone no longer ring off the hook. I could use the time to clear some backlog or try some ideas to improve the internal portal that I was managing for my company.
We would do a little visiting but often it would be to few places and on the weekend after I got back to work.
Now that my mom has dementia, she is not interested in the festival season. I am spending this festive season in another country, in peace and quiet with my mom.
Here, Chinese New Year is not celebrated in a large scale. I find that surprisingly, I really don’t miss it. Instead, I am just using the time to relax and update my blogs.
If your family celebrates CNY but you find that you prefer solitude, it is okay, honor yourself and use the time to unwind. It does not mean that you stay in your room and lock the door. Family time is precious and something we should never take for granted. What I am referring to is the excessive socializing, of dressing up, looking cool just that you can take some pics and share on your social media to fake the great time that you are having when in truth you are bored out of your wits.
This festive time for some would be a great time to spend time with the handful of previous people in your live, to unwind and perhaps to work on your goals or side projects.