There should not be pressure associated with a holiday, yet here I am, stressing about the day.
Labor Day comes once a year in the US and today is the day. The origins of the occasion were once clearer than they are today. Somehow Memorial Day and the 4th of July are easier to understand. I do know that Labor Day is a time to honor workers. A quick Google search reveals the following:
Observed the first Monday in September, Labor Day is an annual celebration of the social and economic achievements of American workers. The holiday is rooted in the late nineteenth century, when labor activists pushed for a federal holiday to recognize the many contributions workers have made to America’s strength, prosperity, and well-being.https://www.dol.gov/general/laborday/history
Labor Day is a day off for many, including me.
For some, like me, it is a paid day off. Yet many around the country do work today. Federal workers are off today. Many retailers are not. Service industries in general are still providing services. After all, how can you have a long weekend out of town if the hotels all close for Labor Day? Without restaurants being open, we couldn’t have meals while on holiday.
So many workers do labor on Labor Day.
It is a fact of life that all jobs are not created equal. Some companies offer unlimited vacation time. The catch is the work still needs to get done. Some companies are good at letting their employees have a life and create policies that support paid time off for baby bonding, bereavement, and everything in between.
So why do holidays create expectations?
I feel as if I should (blank). Fill in the blank with statements oozing with guilt. I want to be with family on holidays. It’s what’s expected. I grew up with holidays being important times to gather as a family. Sometimes it would just be our nuclear family, my mom and dad, my brother and two sisters.
However, often the family included cousins, aunts, and uncles.
I never really knew my grandparents. Three had died before I was old enough to remember them. And my one remaining grandmother lived 8 hours away. While we visited on many holidays, I did not form a close relationship with her. I was closer to my aunt who lived with my grandmother.
Many holidays were spent driving 8 hours each way to be with family.
So why am I stressed about being 30 minutes away from family? It seems like I am rebelling against my upbringing. I am resetting priorities for my holiday. And I am feeling guilty for it. I suppose it is possible that my stress and guilt is somehow related to my depression.
Depression has been known to bring out guilt and shame in me.
Being offered a chance to come for a late afternoon Labor Day picnic should be a welcome event. A chance to see family and share time with each of them. There would be less than 10 people there, assuming everyone attended. But if everyone in my immediate family was not up to going, I am forced to choose.
Do I stay or do I go?
Either way, I am going to feel guilty. Going brings on guilt for not staying home with those who are not up to going. And staying home brings on guilt for not going. In my mind, I hear myself saying, “it’s ok for you to come to my house, but I am not coming to yours.”
What a terrible thing to think.
Now shame kicks in because I am ashamed of myself for thinking that. And do I look to depression as the cause of my thoughts? Or am I just being selfish and narcissistic? As much as I have tried to separate these feelings and emotions out of a given situation, I am not very good at it.
So, I am not going, and I am not going to think too much about the reasons why.
Supporting my immediate family is more valuable to me than being with my siblings. Now that statement should make me feel guilty. Afterall, I am setting priorities and ranking how and who I support first and foremost. I am sure I should be feeling more anxious over making this choice. But I feel pretty good.
Depression cannot, on this occasion, figure a way to make me go and leave my family.
And they would support my going to my siblings for a holiday dinner. I hear them supporting me but feel I should not abuse this support. I feel that I am going in circles, and not making sense of what I am thinking. The day is getting long and the time to leave would be now.