Hello dear reader(s)!
This year has been a tough one, I think any reasonable person can admit that. For me personally, it wasn’t nearly as bad as the year before (for obvious reasons), but it was still pretty difficult.
As a consequence, myself, and a large contingent of friends of myself have found it rather difficult to get into the holiday spirit.
My own holiday spirit has been a roller coaster ride this year. At first, I was pretty pumped. I was planning on doing a lot of Christmas fun things with the woman I was dating until the beginning of the season. However, I knew in the back of my head that this relationship was not the kind of electric connection I needed, and it began to eat at me. I didn’t want to have a girlfriend for the holidays that I knew wasn’t right, just to have a girlfriend at the holidays. Evidently, she was feeling the same, and so we decided to part ways.
It didn’t really put much of a damper on my holiday spirit, however, with the exception of missing out on the couple’s activities that the holidays bring. (Admit it, if a near 40-year old guy was ice skating alone at the same place you and your children were ice skating, you’d be creeped out. Plus, who (other than prospective Olympians) likes ice skating alone?)
Anyway, it still didn’t really put a damper on my holiday spirit. I was psyched and ready to go, resigning myself to more of a low-key holiday spent mostly with my roommates at home.
But then I noticed some of my friends were going through a rough time. For me, it is easy to brush off my own rough times, but nothing can bring me down faster than knowing someone I care about is having trouble.
Then I got sick. The co-pays, and prescription costs, over-the-counter medicines, and fifty-seven boxes of Kleenex were beginning to cut into my Christmas funds. I was also bedridden for a few days.
Then the freeze happened. The heater was unable to keep up with the cold. The pipes froze and we had no cold water in the kitchen sink and laundry. My car was covered in an 1/8 inch layer of ice, and the roads were only passable for about 2 hours a day for a couple days.
Everything was so overwhelming. My long term disability offset would not change the address they sent payment to, claiming that they weren’t receiving the faxes I sent. They would not change my address over the phone. I haven’t yet gotten the oncologist’s office on the line to schedule an appointment. The headaches remain and the first available neurologist appointment was not until today. I am getting calls from hospitals for medical bills that my insurance says I do not owe. I received my medical evaluation for continued disability from my long-term disability company but have no doctor relationship here to really know if they can give a proper assessment, even if I do get in on before it is due.
All of these little frustrations would be little alone, but were piling up to make things worse. The people I wanted to talk to about them were going through their own difficulties, so I kept most of it pretty quiet or brushed it off so as not bring them down. Of course, that just ended up making them worse.
But then yesterday, something happened. I remembered the point of these celebrations and this season. For those of you who are Christian, you might want to look away now.
This season was celebrated because of hope.
Even though a long and difficult winter lies ahead, the light is already returning for life to begin again. All the darkness that has been building, and will still affect us for the next few months, is beginning to turn back. We are alive now, even if we won’t make it through the harsh winter to come. We need to live like it!
So we party. We celebrate. We are here now! Things might not be great later. Some of us won’t even be here. But right now, we are here. We are hopeful to make it through to better times.
My mom was able to get my long-term disability offset check to me in the mail yesterday, after I had already started to feel a bit better. It isn’t much at all, but it meant that I could give a few gifts. Nothing spectacular, but something. I went shopping. I was out in the busy, insane, shopping season, and I didn’t even hate it. I ignored the people fighting over the most expensive and popular items I couldn’t have afforded anyway, and went about my mission of finding meaningful and affordable gifts. I got some snacks, and some drinks. I made sure I had enough left for my co-pay and any prescription my doctor might write me today.
I was almost in the spirit. Almost, but not quite.
Until my friend, someone I care about a great deal, and one of the best people I have ever met, let me know what it was that was bringing her down.
Now, that doesn’t sound like something that would put someone in the holiday spirit, but for me, it was exactly what I needed. Even though I can’t do anything about the situation she is in, and even though I can’t be there to comfort her through it, it felt really great to be trusted enough to know. It also helped, because I know this is something that she will easily be able to get through as time goes forward.
Things could be better, of course. For me, for my friends, for the world as whole. But we are alive right now. We will likely get through this winter, and see a glorious spring. Let’s celebrate that fact, if nothing else.
Happy holidays, everyone!