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It's OK to start new traditions

I spent Thanksgiving alone this year. It was by my own choice, more or less.

It was my first major holiday since becoming single again. I found myself in the odd position of not really knowing what to do with myself.

I had several offers to join other families for their Thanksgiving dinners, but I didn’t want to impose, and I wasn’t sure what kind of mood I would be in. I definitely did not want to be the Debbie Downer at somebody else’s celebration.

Even if I was in a reasonably good mood, the newly liberated old guy would just be a fifth wheel at a family feast.

There is a certain empowerment in staying home alone even if to prove to myself that I’m capable of being alone.

Plus, I planned to visit my parents on the weekend after Thanksgiving, and we would have our family dinner then.

I thought I should stay busy on Thursday so I wouldn’t think too much about my situation. I made a list of things I wanted to get done around the house knowing that I wouldn’t do any of them. I made the list sort of as a back-up plan. If I started to feel sorry for myself, I could go to the list and channel that same energy into something productive.

But being alone doesn’t mean lonely. The day went by surprisingly fast. Of course, days will do that when you don’t get up till the crack of noon.

I had planned ahead. I bought a ham steak and a large baking potato. I realize this was not a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but it was pretty tasty to me.

I watched a little Internet TV while I ate and then finished up with a cigar and a bottle of Ski soda. I just might have a new tradition here.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m big on tradition. In my house, the Christmas tree doesn’t go up until after Thanksgiving. Certain things will always be the same. But the important thing about tradition is that each family determines their own. Traditions are important, but it’s OK to start new ones.

My new Thanksgiving dinner tradition had some pluses and minuses. I’m not going to lie and say that I liked being alone on Thanksgiving better.

But I liked it well enough. Christmas will be another challenge, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

• David Porter can be reached at

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