The holidays juxtapose mirth and depression. A time of joy, giving, humanity versus a time of sadness, alienation, loneliness. From a purely intellectual standpoint, holidays are manufactured to bring family and friends together creating (theoretically) a sense of belonging, connection and contentment.
The reality is less pretty. Less neat. Suicide spikes. Perhaps it’s the expectation of what we believe a holiday should look like that trips us up. A repeat of how it was when we were small. Or how it wasn’t, making it all the more important to be different now. Without these parameters it would look like it did, be what it was on any given year and we (theoretically) would be accepting because we had no hidden agendas (which more often than not are unconscious), therefore no disappointments.
The big question: Why do we need holidays; Thanksgiving (my favorite), Christmas and New Year’s to be grateful, giving and celebratory, goal setting and introspective? What about the other 300 plus days?
We can get into negative thinking: life gets us down, a friend hurts us, a loved one dies. As I am feeling melancholy (not sure why) I want to find the balance between authentically feeling my feelings and wallowing in them. They have a place. And they change. My counter sentiment is gratitude for small but substantial blessings: my health, my children’s health, my home, food, heat and friends. One does not negate the other, we are more complicated than that.
I wish you happiness and success. Since these words are lovely but vague, you add the details so they come true. In times of stress and challenge, I wish you peace and clarity. And if possible, through the busyness of the season (and life) I hope you find time to relax into the present moment, because nothing else matters.