Living Columns & Blogs

Tips for making time for loved ones, combating homesickness

Dear Emily: My girlfriend has been after me to go on a date that’s “festive” but I feel like I have no time right now to plan something special as we are both stressed out in our careers. What is something that we could do together that is in the holiday spirit?

Dear Boyfriend: You always have time for your loved ones. If you feel that you do not, then you need to reevaluate your schedule and possibly your relationship.

This is what I suggest you do if you feel that you both are stressed in your career and pressed for time with pressure to execute a solid date: Choose and buy two heavy pumpkins. Bring those pumpkins home and cut open the top. Get your hands messy by pulling out all the pumpkins seeds. Wash the pumpkin seeds then lay them on a cookie tray with a ton salt and oil. Emphasize on a ton of salt. Put the pumpkin seeds in the oven. Have a snack.

Next, take your lovely girlfriend and your leftover pumpkins outside. Launch them into the air and let out loud grunts like you are Serena Williams in the U.S. Open. Enjoy smashing your pumpkins. Take all your energy, angst and stress out on that fat orange gourds.

Finally, take a breath. Relax a little bit. Sit down with your girlfriend and enjoy your pumpkin seeds with store bought apple cider.

Both of you deserve down time and that downtime should be spent together.

Moving forward, remember that you always have time if you create it. That there should be no excuse ever to not make an effort with your girlfriend because courtship still matters. Even though you are in a relationship that seems to be comfortable, the act of dating is constant. Never fall too comfortable in the relationships you have with the people you love the most.

Dear Emily: I’ve recently moved away from my family on my own. How do you keep from being homesick when you are so far away, especially as someone that is close to your loved ones?

Dear Homesick: Ironically, a couple weeks ago I acknowledged I was homesick and I traveled back to Happy Valley to spend time with loved ones and spend time in a familiar place. Doing this I thought would cure my homesick aches. Surprisingly, this made it much more difficult. It made me miss home that much more. Going to your places of comfort or old ways is not always the way to ease you.

It’s OK if you have moments of missing home, but channel those feelings into positivity by sending your family and friends extra love whether it be a craft that you’ve done or a simple phone call and an update on your life.

I think it’s important to be present wherever you are. It’s easier said than done, but, I also like to think that home is wherever my feet are. Know that you can be your own home and that the world that you are building yourself and evolving in is just as good as your childhood bed or Mama’s home cooking.

Find comfort in the uncomfortable. It’s not easy being homesick but make an effort to find things that make you feel lighter. For me, it’s my books in bed or time with a friend in the park.

There is no simple recipe to cure being homesick. I want you to acknowledge all you are feeling but also know that you are doing it — you are off in the world accomplishing things and breathing. Breathing is a big deal. It’s an accomplishment. Be gentle and kind with yourself. Cry when you want to but be strong when you have to be. I want you to make sure that each breath you take your moving one step ahead of the other.

Emily Chertow is a Penn State graduate living in New York City who grew up in State College. Questions for her column can be sent to Information on who is asking them will be kept confidential.