When the weather started declining and my morning drive to class became chilly, it could only mean one thing: winter and the holidays were fast approaching.
I waited with apprehension for the temperature to continue dropping and the clothes to become bulkier, not because the encroaching holidays but because of my inevitable and unfortunately annual deterioration in mood.
For some reason, every year when it gets cold my spirits plummet. Maybe because I am not-so-secretly not cut out for Midwestern climates or maybe for a more significant reason.
As a hormonally imbalanced teenager, the lack of vitamin D during the winter months hit me harder than most and the holidays became less about being holly-jolly and more about trying to keep my internal fire burning. Sounds depressing, right?
Well, that was my existence. Existential dread and crippling depression during the holiday months always consumed me and every day came with a new plan I devised on how to stay in bed as long as possible.
See, the holidays always highlighted what I was lacking, and from a rock-bottom standpoint, I could never quite grasp just how blessed I was. Even with the shreds of colorful paper floating around me on Christmas morning, the roaring fires at night and the twinkling lights casting their glow out on a silent world at night–I couldn’t see anything.
I was caught in a constant stream of what ifs, why nots, and why me’s. Every holiday brought a pity party of epic proportions and my admittedly dramatic self would sit there basking in the theatrics of loneliness and despair.
And on a large scale, I believe these unruly pity parties affect the general population just as much.
The daze I have lived in for the past few years must have completely clouded my vision when it came to the holidays and the way people celebrate them because this year I have become privy to habits and behaviors of those around me in ways I wish I could unsee.
Maybe I’m just more aware and more mature, but it seems that instead of celebrating what we have and taking time to experience the warmth and joy the holidays DO bring, we are focused and determined to fill the voids in our lives with materialistic goods and things we don’t quite care about.
I sound like a broken record and every “enlightened” individual you’ve seen plastered across social media preaching about how the holidays should be felt and not bought and yadda yadda, you know, the whole nine yards.
But like, really.
The preachy ones do have a point sometimes.
The holidays–whichever ones you celebrate are supposed to be a time of peace, reflection, and joy before a new year begins. It should be a time to take stock of everything you have in your life both big and small, animate or inanimate. A time of radical self-care after a surely hectic year and a time for you to come to your hearts center and feel the love you hold within then radiate it outwards to glow into the new year as both happy and healthy.
The holidays are the PERFECT time to rest, relax, and catch your breath rather than hurry around mindlessly, committing yourself to people and tasks that don’t serve you. It is a wonderful time to find stillness within yourself and offer thanks for the abundance you are blessed with.
So take a moment, no matter how your moment looks–in the shower before a holiday party, in the car with your family, or before you fall asleep to take into account all of your blessings despite your shortcomings and realize that when you are appreciative for what you DO have, what you don’t have doesn’t quite matter as much.