The calendar has turned from November to December, Black Friday has passed. It's inevitable. Christmas is coming, and there's nothing I can do about it.
The holiday season feels like a no-win situation for me. I generally dread it, but I hate being one of the people who dread the holidays because I know how you sound when you say it. Just last week, I made a couple of older ladies laugh when they heard me say to a co-worker I'd met for lunch, "I only have to suffer through one Thanksgiving gathering this year." They laughed but I know what they were thinking.
I didn't just become this guy. My mother still likes telling people my earliest heroes included Yosemite Sam, Oscar The Grouch, and Ferdinand The Bull; I'm a grouch with a bad temper who'd rather be left alone and I guess I've always been this way. Some people grow up and grow out of it. Me? Obviously not.
I'm counting down the days until this all starts. I'm counting up the number of gatherings I'll have to try and cram into a small window of time. I'll count the number of things I'd rather be doing at any moment. I'll start to feel like a prisoner in my own life, haplessly marching to the beat of a rhythm beyond my control. I'll start complaining about "theys" and "thems," not knowing who they or them are.
Now before you say it — if you haven't already skipped down to the comment section and started in on me — I know what you're thinking, and you're right. I'm complaining about being a victim of my own blessings. I have people who — despite the fact they're insane and borderline insufferable — care enough to see my insane and borderline insufferable ass. I'm stressed out trying to find enough tokens to buy tokens of my gratitude for their presence in my life.
So this is the part of the program where we try to have a sense of humor about it all, because I'm not altogether wrong myself. I know my attitude stinks, but I'm not just making this shit up. We do try and cram too much into too small a window. We do spend too much on gifts that are quickly consumed and forgotten. Even time with the family and friends is burdened with hopes that become expectations too often beyond our imperfect grasp. I know, so much for a sense of humor. I got sidetracked.
Modern science hasn't perfected the personality transplant, although I hear lobotomies are nice this time of year. I'm stuck with me and so is my family. So where do we go from here? I'm not going to pledge to not be filled with dread and grumpiness. Those come a week later when we write the same New Year's Resolutions we've been writing for the past decade. I'm going to accept my surliness without going so far as to embrace it. Rather than trying to remove it altogether, which is futile, I'm going to try and counteract it.
Mr. Happy-Go-Lucky may never be in the cards for me, but there's no reason I can't bring a little balance to my life because it's not like I don't have any concept of how fortunate I am. My mind can't conjure all the ways my life could be worse but I can list enough of them to have an idea. For the rest of this month leading up to Christmas, I'm going to try choosing songs that remind me of how blessed I am. I'm going to try to take a few moments each day to think about that and I'm going to write about it. Starting tomorrow…