Today I heard a radio interview where a lifestyle guru and an etiquette advice columnist were discussing ways to safely and meaningfully connect while celebrating the holiday season. At first, they suggested scheduled Zoom dates, round-robin holiday wishes to the family (via either snail mail or email), and possibly getting together with a very small group, possibly outside, possibly for a very short time, and definitely socially-distanced. All fair ideas, if not that original or inspiring.
Then, these two experts on the art of living (who knew that was a thing, but ok) took a call from a woman I can only describe as a realist. She posited that since this would be a holiday season like no other, we should accept that reality and celebrate like no other time: by settling into the state of grumpiness known as "Alone and Depressed." Well, that was not exactly her title, but I think it sums up her position nicely. She felt that we should acknowledge our sorrow at all that's been lost this year and just relive that all through the holidays. The hosts thought this was a wonderful idea. I'm paraphrasing, but their reaction went something like, "I love that idea! There's no point in pretending; accept the loneliness, the loss, all the possibilities that will never be." "Yes! Welcome your pain as your holiday guest and live with it for a while." "Sure, serve it some turkey and stuffing, why not?" (That last comment was my own, tbh.) They continued on this theme for a while, very enthusiastically. Never have two people been so delighted to be so miserable.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, TO THIS I MUST SAY: RESIST!!! Now, I have issued the call for resistance before: when 7-11 discontinued the Double Gulp (what the hell was that about?!?!), when my kids decided that our bedroom would be a good place to visit each night around 2:00am, when my husband suggested we buy a minivan. Sad to report, all those resistance movements failed. (Although I'm not sorry about the minivan-that thing is amazing). But this time, I am NOT backing down. What good is the most wonderful time of the year if we spend it being miserable and depressed on purpose? What is the point of making an effort to be sad?
UH-UH. Not gonna do it. Making an effort to do anything is hard enough. (Well, not making cookies, but that's a different conversation.) I'm damn sure not going to spend this time of year, interestingly, the darkest time of year in terms of how many daylight hours we get, trying to be upset, or wallowing in the fact that there are so many good reasons to be. Instead, I'll focus on trying to be happy, trying to be a good example for my children, trying to find little sparks of light in the darkness. I'll thank God for the family I have, enjoy the time with the people I'm able to see, and think about all the good things we've accomplished and still have to look forward to.
And if I have to self-medicate with many pounds of turkey and stuffing, assorted seasonal pies, jelly donuts, latkes, and chocolate coins, well then that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make!
Until next time, wishing you good night, good luck, and good health!