Going through holidays with blinders on, it’s a hard slog to January.
December 28, 2009
Another funky Xmas: the cat’s in the cradle…
Now that Christmas is over I have a confession to make: I struggled with it. Warm and fuzzy sentimentality interrupted by bouts of anger and depression. My temperament resembled the Chicago weather: cold and slushy. Regrettably, the holidays baffle and frustrate me.
They didn’t always. As a kid I was a receiver. I went places. Endured hugs. Got presents. Lots of presents. Even when my family had only modest wealth, I identified with material abundance… stuff.
In my teen and college years the holidays were about avoidance and hedonism. I thought mostly of myself. I wanted to do my own thing, which meant reading, writing, getting high, pining after women and generally dreading family obligations.
Then I grew up. Sort of. Marriage and children predicated I could no longer carry on as I pleased. I had dependants. An immediate family cannot be avoided, nor should they be, especially during the holidays…
But I remain baffled. Divorced when I was three or four, my parents hadn’t been overly present in my life and, at times, I’m ignorant on how to be present myself. I compensate by being a good provider. I focus considerable energy into forging a career. Advertising I understand. I know how to write and sell copy. I have a role I can play and I excel at it.
Needless to say, galloping through life (let alone the holidays) with blinders on is far from ideal. I miss things, too many to name here. Yet removing them is harder than it sounds. The muscle memory remains. The holidays only accentuate this defect. And I struggle.
In addition, the rampant commercialization of the season infuriates me. Christmas carols and retail jingles blur together. It makes me ill. Ironic given my vocation, and the fact that I’m wired to provide stuff and not much else. Sometimes I feel like a robot and a malfunctioning one at that.
So I’m glad Christmas is over. But I’m also sad I didn’t do a better job of it. Are “job” and “it” even the right words? I don’t know. Once again, I missed things. Thankfully, not as much as last Christmas or the one before that. I recognize the problem is more mine than the season’s. And now I have another year to work on it.
Happy New Year and God Bless.