This is an excerpt from FREE LOVE: Everyday Ideas for Joyful Living.

For most of my single life I was happy to be single. But even being happy being single doesn’t mean we don’t feel blue sometimes — especially on holidays.

One of the hardest holidays for me as a single person was Thanksgiving. It is not a romantic or festive holiday — it’s a quiet, family holiday. Mother’s Day is another quiet, family holiday that can be challenging for those who have lost their mother, and for those who want to be mothers and aren’t. If you’re not close to your family physically or emotionally, any holiday could be a bummer.

I’d always known we have thousands of simple yet profound reasons to feel gratitude, even in dark moments — thank you for my eyes that see flowers, my ears that hear the birds, my nose that smells the ocean air. I had a long list, and I meant every bit of it. Yet one Thanksgiving morning in particular, I felt deeply alone and couldn’t shake the feeling of ingratitude.

Then, as often happens in those moments, I thought back on my conversation with Mother Teresa.

“Learn to love yourself, your family, your neighbors.”

An idea popped in my head.

I had plenty of friends around the world who were single and without large or close families. I would call everyone I could think of in that category and wish him or her a sunny, happy Thanksgiving.

With the first call, my mood lightened. With my second call, I felt “almost good.” By the fifth call, I was positively elated and knew this would be a new tradition.

Remembering who might have just ended a relationship around Valentine’s Day, remembering who is alone on Thanksgiving, remembering who’s without their parent or has experienced loss on Mother’s or Father’s Day, and calling them to share love — it’s a small way to make this a better world.

ALLIE CHEE is the author of New Mother, Go, Jane!, and Free Love: Everyday Ideas for Joyful Living. Her work has appeared in Thrive Global, Midwifery Today, The Well Being Journal, The Birthing Site, The Holistic Networker, Kindred Community, and Natural Mother Magazine.

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