Pity, Party of One Please

By Reba Phelps

There is nothing like taking a casual stroll to the mail box and opening the door to find a colored envelope with the return address embossed on the backside. Most of the time these mailbox gems are 5 1/4 x 7 1/4 inches in size and every so often they will be more colorful than the standard ecru variety. They can also be larger but that will increase the price of postage and increase the amount the hostess has to spend.

Modern day Emily Post has really lightened up on the color schemes and the way an invitation arrives.

So many of our party rituals have changed due to online efforts. Evites and Facebook events are more popular than ever in our society. People can host any type of social gathering from a baby shower, wedding shower, and even a gender reveal without leaving the comfort found behind their computer screen in their home or office.

The daily chore of checking the mail can be somewhat drab so when one of these special deliveries arrives attention must be paid. My typical mail routine involves a pitstop at my outdoor trash can so the droves of sale papers and coupons do not darken my doors. Otherwise, they will spend an undetermined amount of weeks on my countertop. But, when I receive an invitation to a party all bets are off. My daily mail routine changes.

It just makes my day brighter and brings a little cheer.

I truly get so excited about all of the fanfare surrounding social gatherings. The food and the drinks. The friends and the family. The decorations and the location. The endless supply of new people to meet. The benefits are countless.

If you know me then you know how I adore a social gathering. If there is a celebration and I have met the person at least one time I expect to be invited.

I will clear a calendar for a social event. If you really ponder it long enough you would go to everything you are invited to as well. If someone coordinates a party and then spends time and money planning the event, and they thought that their event would be more special if you were present…… who am I to decline their happiness by not attending?

On the other hand, there is a party that I host every so often that takes zero planning. It doesn’t take weeks to plan the perfect venue. This party can held anywhere. The menu is no problem and there’s nothing to be anxious about. It is actually the most economic-friendly event that I have ever hosted. My house doesn’t even have to be cleaned prior to the party.

This party has such an exclusive guest list that none of my closest friends will ever be invited.

A good old fashioned pity party typically only has a guest list of one. They don’t happen as often as they used to but they still occur often enough to warrant this article. A pity party can actually be brought on by even the slightest of events.

I can see a young family that includes a mom, dad and children and then long for the days when my daughters were younger and we were a family of four. I can see an elderly married couple at dinner celebrating a milestone anniversary and in my mind they are the happiest people on earth and have never even argued. I can see a couple dating and just imagine that they will be married happily ever after while I sit alone. Mother’s Day, on social media, for those us who do not have a living mother will pretty much guarantee a day-long pity party.

This sounds so drastic but it is an easy place to go if I allow myself. Recently, through many rough weekends of alone-time research I have discovered that the pre-party version of the pity party is FOMO.

If you are not familiar with the term, “FOMO”, let me enlighten you. This is an acronym for “fear of missing out.” The fear of missing out is definitely a first cousin to the pity party. They pretty much travel in the same circles. Anytime I choose to hangout with both of them at the same I time it never ends well. The thing about FOMO and pity parties is that they are completely unnecessary and can completely be avoided if you do not let your thoughts rule your feelings.

These days I try to make a conscious effort to notice the triggers that may throw me into the planning stages of a pity party. I try to pray and keep my mind occupied with positive thoughts of the future and what it might hold. I try to trust God and believe in his future blessings rather than focus on what I do not have or what I have lost through the years.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable— if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things”

Philippians 4:8

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