I know a lot of people get pissy during the holidays. The crowds are unruly and rude, the roads are clogged, the pressure is on and stress goes through the roof.
I really lucked out, though — I thoroughly enjoyed my family while growing up (my twin cousins and I are still best friends) (and we still marvel at the adventures we shared as kids)… and later on, I hooked up with friends who know how to cut through the bullshit and get to the calm, pleasurable center of special occasions.
I don’t care if the turkey’s burnt or underdone, I don’t care if the weather is perfect or sucks, and I don’t care if any particular guest has a coping problem.
Because all I care about is the opportunity to reflect on where I’m at, and what I truly do have to be thankful for.
Seems odd that we had to create a holiday to do this… but I’m all for it. The football is fun, the way merchants try to make festive messes in their stores is entertaining, and my memories of being taught all that crap about pilgrims and Indians still makes me smile.
But, as I head into my upteenth holiday, I’m amazed — yet again — that I’ve survived my rollicking past, and have somehow arrived at this place I inhabit now. Teaching, writing prolifically, wired into the red-hot center of the Web… I’m just stunned at my good fortune.
And I’m not taking any of it for granted. There were many, many other paths I could have taken over the years… each one leading to God knows where. I have close friends no longer with us, and others in various stages of disrepair, and I know (now, after feeling invulnerable for most of my life) that every new lap around the calendar is a gift.
I love this season. For me, it’s not just leaves turning and the landscape going bare under the coming snows. Rather, it’s a time for renewal, a time to refill my soul with gratitude and, yes, even more amazement at the ride we’re all on here.
I’ve been depressed, and I’ve been insanely happy, and I’ve been everywhere in between. It’s a journey, and you gotta find your own mojo and learn how to deal with your own physiological and emotional idiosyncracies.
Nobody has it down “perfect”. Everybody bleeds, and everybody screws up now and again. Getting it all into perspective helps calm you down. All this will pass, no matter how unyielding and overwhelming it seems at the moment.
I know the holidays are difficult for many folks.
But I hope that this time, you remember to take a deep breath, get centered… and take it all in. Living life well requires a healthy appetite for every detail, both the good and the bad.
And stay frosty.