Here we are again. The Holiday Season.
Of course, Covid 19 cases are on the rise again, and many states and cities are under lockdown orders in order to prevent the spread of the virus. I find that to be reasonable, considering. But because of this, the holidays are going to look very different this year. For me, I won’t be travelling, or having a get together. It will probably just be me and my mama and the dogs. I am content with that. Some people are having a really hard time with making the choice to be safe and respect other people’s health. They might find that this is super inconvenient for them. In my opinion, risking other people's health and safety just so you can spend the holidays the way you normally do is (I'll be blunt) SELFISH. That’s all I have to say about that. You can disagree with me if you’d like, but that is my opinion.
I have not gone out to restaurants, parties, concerts, etc. I have only been to the grocery store. Everything else I have done has been contactless. This is because I visit my mama twice a week to spend time with her, to connect with her (because I know isolation has been hard for her too), to eat and cook with her, to help her with things around the house, and to walk and spend time with her dogs (I still think of them as my own). But the only way I feel safe doing that is by not doing the things I am used to doing. I put health first. There will be plenty of time to do those things later. It is not important right now. I would never want to risk my mama getting Covid, and I certainly don't want to risk getting it myself. I am ok with being “inconvenienced” because I can see the bigger picture.
The holidays. When I was little/younger, I viewed the holidays as the time where we watched football, cooked food all day, had a lot of people around us (mostly family), a lot of dishes, eating a lot of food, etc. When it comes to Christmas, I am not religious, but we celebrated anyway. As I get older, and no longer believe in Santa Claus (which by the way, I believed wayyyy too long and when I found out, it kind of took the magic away), I realize that the holidays contain a lot of “obligation” and stress. Unnecessary stress. Buying gifts, making enough money to buy gifts, planning parties, cleaning the house all the time, trying to “impress” others, planning dinners, planning other meals, travelling, paying to stay places when you travel, figuring out what to do with your animals when you're away, etc. It seems like a lot.
I have felt the pressure of getting gifts and having enough money to get gifts. When I buy gifts, I like to show the person I know them enough to get them something they really like. This can be very stressful, which by the way, takes ALL of the fun about it. My family and I decided a few years ago that we weren't going to do gifts any more. At first, I was a bit upset, not because I wanted gifts, but because I like giving them. But then I realized that it became more about spending time together, and experiencing things, and cooking food (which we love to do!) So after the initial shock of not celebrating that way, there is a silver lining and what I believe to be the true spirit of the holiday season in general: being close with the ones you love.
We live in a materialistic, and consumerist society. I find it disgusting, if I can be blunt. We like to use things as a way of advertising status, or claiming status. We think things will make us feel better about ourselves, or fill some void. But if that does work, it is only temporary. The older I get, the more I realize that I will eventually lose everything I have. But also, the things that we buy can support the maltreatment of others (the people who make them, who are not cared for, or treated well, or paid well) but also make terrible people profit off of us. I have become more focused on using my money for experiences and self development. If you had asked me 10 years ago about my opinion on the matter, I think it would be drastically different. When you're young, things allow you to feel like you fit in. The TRENDS. But trends die, and then you have all this stuff that isn't trending and now you have to get more things to fit the new trends.
I won’t go any further on that topic, but I would like to ask you to analyze the way you view holidays and spending, and materials and trends and ask yourself what is more important. What is really important.
“Kindness is like snow. It beautifies everything it covers.” – Kahlil Gibran
Another thing about the holidays is that because of the added stress and/or increased events/parties, there are copious amounts of alcohol consumed. Being sober now, this is when healthy coping skills have saved me. If you are sober-curious, or sober serious, or just looking to cut back, I am here to tell you that it is totally possible and FUN. I think a lot of people think that you can't have fun and be sober. But the best benefit is that you are actually able to be present in the moment. Plus, you can wake up without a hangover (which is great), and your mind and mood seem to function better than they ever have. So, I think you should give it a try! It might be uncomfortable at first, but just lean into it! Obviously, this year is going to look different, so either it will be easier to be sober, or being isolated might lead you to indulge a little too much. Find a support system: a friend, a family member, a therapist. You can do it!
Last thing I want to talk about is family. This took me a long time to get through my skull but it is also extremely true: you have no obligation to your family. If spending time with your family is stressful, hurtful, if they disrespect you, cross your boundaries, anything else that doesn't feel right/feel good, you do NOT have to spend time with them. If this is the first time you're hearing this, I know it can sound outrageous. But you don’t owe them anything, especially if they are toxic to you. Relationships, including the ones with your family, have to be mutual. If you are giving and giving and giving, and they are taking, taking, taking, its time to have that conversation and either work on it, or let it go. Yes, that might mean spending holidays without them. But you are protecting yourself and your energy. Plus, it leaves more room for you to include positive, loving, supportive people into your life instead.
Whatever you decide to do this holiday season, remember to have fun! Remember to share the love. Remember to give back when you can. Remember that you deserve love and respect. Remember to look for the magical moments, they are all around you! Remember to be kind to others and to yourself!
I love you, and HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON!
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. Wishing you happiness.” – Helen Keller