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Monday, December 28, 2015

Dealing With a Less-Than-Ideal Christmas

Well its Monday and Christmas has come and gone..

Have to admit it was not a very joyous one for me this year.

Honestly.. It was plain awful; probably the worst since 2003 when I spent every day in December visiting a dear friend in a coma in ICU who eventually would pass away during New Years...

Now that was a rough Christmas season though I have no regrets whatsoever in spending my time with her vs the fluff and frivolity of shopping and watching holiday fare on TV.
So anyways, Saturday i.e. the day after X-Mas was quite nice n' pleasurable though Sunday turned out to be a downer but at least that was based on actual events, not a void of holiday spirit bringing out the doldrums.

Every year many people get to feeling this way during the Christmas holiday though few to any really openly admit it to others..

I spent different parts of the weekend trying to self-analyze why I felt so bah-humbug overall the last few weeks

It wasn't any sort of familial longings though I know I've upset many a close yet distant kin in writing that, and hopefully certain people won't take it all too literal
It wasn't even anything in the news to trigger it and goodness knows there's always a half dozen news stories daily to irritate the brain and compress on the spirit

It was something more

I thought about the experience of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus though admittedly not in a religious context;  I was more day-dreaming about whether overall, living was better then a little over 2000 years ago vs the present?

In terms of technology, invention and basic creature comforts like air conditioning, central heating and indoor plumbing, it seems a truly idiotic thought for present 2015 is vastly superior

But let's go beyond that a moment and look at family and social interaction
Families usually were large, they were loyal and they lived in very close proximity.

They also were actively involved in each other's daily life and sharing a meal with a sibling, an aunt/uncle or a grandparent wasn't such a big deal needing a holiday to motivate oneself to trek across the country..

If someone else wanted to start trouble with you, there wasn't this feeling of isolation because everyone who shared your bloodline would rally by your side as you'd rally to theirs

Today, people don't want to get involved, even if its family and so often brothers don't value sisters or stay in contact unless begrudgingly which only provokes sisters to take the same tack in response.
And don't get me started on cell-phones, texting or the super-laziness of a Facebook message or Twitter tweet..

That is not how people who genuinely like and care about one another stay in touch, but merely a device the lazy and self-centered to fulfill obligations and everyone else has just over time gotten used to it as the norm.

Also back then, outside of work, there wasn't much in the way of visual or audio distraction to block out everyone around you.
This meant people were forced to *gasp* socialize with one another; ask how each other is doing.. How's the wife/husband?  How's the kids?   How are you spending this upcoming holiday (or how did your holiday turn out?)

And from this, you had a true sense of community.

Today, the only way you can get a family or neighborhood like that is to hire people to play parts of caring, concerned friends and loved-ones, as if casting for a play.

Everyone on my street doing their thing.. putting up holiday lights and decorating the tree and inviting (or forcing) the adult kiddies to drive/fly in to spend a few days with Maw an' Paw
And no one giving a fig to bother to ask myself or really anyone else what they were doing to celebrate, no care or concern after the fact as to how the special day went..

Everyone insulated and detached; oblivious to anyone else..

"What do you want from me?  I gave to the Salvation Army..  So what! -- Now I have to actually be aware of and give a crap about my fellow neighbor (or co-worker, or niece/nephew)??!!

Christmas is supposed to be a lovely time even for those who may not be religious or even for those who believe in another faith; all the lights, music and pageantry of it all
But it also is a brutal time because like an IRS audit or letter from a collector that forces you to really look at your finances honestly, Christmas does the same on a social and inter-personal level.

You evaluate who your real family and friends are; the ones you'd actually want to give blood or a kidney to save versus those in name only who are peripherally friendly/cordial at best

And there's no better time to see who's in your corner, both in word and gesture because love, to quote from the film 'Rob Roy' truly is a dunghill for the cock to climb upon and crow and few actions take less effort than to say 'I love you'

The proof is always in the actions, not the words..  Or the sex.
Sometimes what you see, well that reality is no fun but neither is self-deception...

Can't make necessary changes until you know what needs changing.

But here's the thing..

If you are genuinely content and happy with oneself, then you will come to realize you're quite alright, and all the myriad of strangers wishing you Merry Christmas doesn't mean a thing.
For instance, the problem with Dickens' Ebenezer Scrooge wasn't his miserly behavior or refusal to celebrate Christmas..

He simply never became content being by himself; the fact he lived a life alone was one of happenstance, not choice.

If he had been content and fulfilled to live life by his lonesome, the holiday wouldn't have bothered him nor how any one else chose to celebrate it.

And that's what I realized in myself over the weekend.
Perhaps it would have been funner to be a participant in a grand feast to gorge upon with dozens of friends/family in a crowded home, lots of laughter, merriment and present-exchanging (and the sharing of one guest bathroom).

Then again, it may have not.

Sometimes family is terrible and being alone is best..

So when I began to feel content as to what 'Is' vs what was not, then the Christmas spirit began to fill me as in years past.
Christmas celebrating can be a real bitch; super stressful and full of pressure to extract perfection

When you control in your mind how you are to perceive the reality of your situation, then you can control your emotional reaction(s) and find happiness even in less than ideal circumstances.

And yes, this applies to New Years' Eve as well...