The holidays are officially here, which means it's the time of year to reconnect with all of the family and friends we left back home in our previous lives. Whether you're practically jumping with joy and excitement or starting to break into a cold sweat just thinking about it, you can probably relate to all of these things we all feel when we go home for the holidays.
For a lot of people, heading home for the holidays is fun and exciting — a welcome chance to reconnect with family, friends, and loved ones you don't get to see as often now that you live far away. But it's inevitable that sleeping in your childhood bedroom or, even stranger, your family's guest room, will bring up more complicated emotions than just joy and good cheer.
Families are complex, and so are the many different ways we feel about them — especially around the holidays. Often a mixture of joy and sadness, stress and relief, and elation and anger, the already stressful state of being we live in during the holiday season only gets more exaggerated when we head back to visit our family. They say you can't go home, but what they really mean is you can't go home for Christmas without experiencing all the feels, the good and the bad.
But the countdown is officially on, so whether you like it or not, it's time to prepare yourself for these things we all feel when we go home for the holidays.
1. The Initial Stage of Excitement
"Yay, it's the holiday season! That means I get to go home soon! I wonder if my mom will do my laundry for me?"
2. The First Wave Of Panic
"Wait, I have to go home soon. What if my parents ask me about my job search/dating life/general life plan? I need to start planning my answers now. I wonder if it is actually possibly to hire a fiancé for a holiday..."
3. Sinking Terror And Immense Dread
"There has to be a way to get out of this, right? Maybe my flight will be cancelled and I won't have to sit through my sister's yearly speech about her most recent accomplishments. Oh god, I'm sweating already..."
4. An Brief Boost Of Encouragement
"At least I will get to see my childhood best friend! I won't have to sit at the town bar alone, and we will finally be able to catch up. I think this will actually be a nice trip home."
5. A False Feeling Of Security
"You know what, things have been so crazy lately, it will be nice to be home to relax and reset. There's nothing like an afternoon on my parents' couch to make me feel safe and calm again."
6. Full-Blown Anxiety
"Actually, there's nothing more stressful than going home. My parents are going to drill me about "the future," my sister is still mad at me about that Barbie from 15 years ago, and I never answered my aunt's Facebook friend request. How am I going to handle this?!"
7. A Lingering Sense Of Fear
"I can prepare all I want, but there's no controlling what happens when I cross that threshold into my parents house. There's no telling what will happen this year, but as long as it isn't as bad as last year, I might be able to survive."
8. A Small Burst Of Hope
"Come to think of it, if I can make it through the great Stocking Disaster of 2015, I can handle anything."
9. Momentary Reassurance
"I'm an adult — a grown ass adult who works, pays bills, and even separates their laundry on occasion. I can handle real life every day, I can handle home for the holidays."
10. A Wave of Shock...
"Say what?! Did that actually just come out of the mouth of someone I am related to? After the election, I thought I saw everything, but apparently I was wrong."
11. ... Followed Immediately With A Sense Of Order
"At least some things never change?"
12. A Burst Of Self Righteous Determination
"No, not this year — this is the year we start to make changes around here. We're using this family dinner to open up a real dialogue, and I'm not backing down on this point, no matter how insane my relatives get."
13. Overwhelming Feelings Of Nostalgia
14. Final Resolve And Surrender