Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
-Mary Oliver

30 December, 2012


Disclaimer* I didn't mean for this to be such an incohesive, bleak post for what is meant to be a joyous season, but I guess this is what came out.  And I promise I wasn't just a mopey bitch all month.  I was fun sometimes too.

“Don’t squander joy. We can’t prepare for tragedy and loss. When we turn every opportunity to feel joy into a test drive for despair, we actually diminish our resilience. Yes, softening into joy is uncomfortable. Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it’s vulnerable. But every time we allow ourselves to lean into joy and give in to those moments, we build resilience and we cultivate hope. The joy becomes part of who we are, and when bad things happen—and they do happen—we are stronger.”
-Brene Brown, Daring Greatly


I know that I try to make you listen to Tim Minchin's White Wine in the Sun every year, and I'm going to stick with that tradition.  Listen to it and I hope you adore it.  I heard it for the first time about 3 years ago, and my affection for it hasn't diminished at all.  I don't think I've ever skipped it when it has come on.  Or if you're looking for a funnier and more offensive Christmas-y song, try his Woody Allen Jesus.


Christmas has come and gone, and soon we will begin 2013.  It's somewhat a relief that the holidays are almost over.  The pressure to have fun is too much for me sometimes.  We are relentlessly, albeit usually metaphorically, bashed over the head by people urging us to feel joy, love, and peace, and that, my friends, can be pretty damn overwhelming.


I always sort of feel like I'm doing something wrong around the holidays, because more often than not I'm feeling reflective and bittersweet and I am looking for quiet gatherings and meaningful conversations with one or two friends as opposed to big parties with music and loudness and social awkwardness (this is actually true of me all year, but I'm never really in a position to turn down a social opportunity).



It's interesting, and sad I suppose, how emotions become muddled together, less pure with age.  Moments of joy are tinged with grief.  Images of piles of gifts are punctuated by images of the homeless and struggling.  Giant bowls of leftovers are reminders of empty bowls of children across the world.  What should be the happiest moments are interrupted by remembering that others are suffering or they're missing their loved ones or you're missing your loved ones or any other of a multitude of worries that people in the world are facing.  And having this knowledge detracts a great deal from the joy.  As Stephen Sondheim wrote "Isn't it nice to know a lot!  And a little bit not."  Or if you prefer a more mainstream phrasing, ignorance is indeed bliss.


All of this is just part of life and the luck of the draw and individual circumstances, but knowing that doesn't make it any easier to deal with, especially when you add it to...just...everyday life.  Working and paying bills and trying to maintain relationships.  And while I'm not really New Year's Resolution Girl, maybe this year I should give it a try.  There are a lot of ways in which I'd like to improve myself, and if I succeed in these changes, I think I will have a happier life.  I mean, I'm generally a pretty happy girl, know.  I have a tendency to dwell on things I wish I could change and situations I wish I would have handled differently.  And believe me when I say I dwell the shit out those things, guys.  I'm always thinking about what I should not have said or should have done or how I could have communicated something more clearly, and damned if it doesn't mess me up a bit.  I'd like to learn how to let that go.  I think I need to be more present.  I think I need to enjoy moments as they come and not try to force them into existence, because inevitably, that leads to disappointment.  Which, I think, everyone could always use a little less of.


So I hope you all had a happy holiday season.  Happy New Year to you and yours.


1 comment:

Alison said...

You're such a smart kid. Love from me.