Some Things To Remember For The Holidays So Your Mind Doesn't Get All Donked Up
I don't know if they'll work for you. Maybe some of them will!
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There’s no getting around the fact that it’s December
It’s the time of year where the Christians celebrate Jesus being born and everyone who isn’t Christian is asked to put up with the Christians. All this while the days get as short as possible and it’s cold out.
Here are some things to remember:
Tradition is a hotel, not a prison. There may be things that you or your family or your friends do every year that are just fantastic thrills of fun. OR maybe you do them every year because they were fun once or twice back when you were different people. Or maybe they were never fun at all but you kept expecting they would be. You can stop doing those traditions if you want to. Or you can read how much they mean to someone you love and keep doing them. Or you can do them because it’s still better than anything else you’re doing. Point is: you can check out any time you like AND you can leave. Take that, Don Henley.
Say nuh-uh. (I try to avoid the phrasing “Just say no” because I remember the Nancy Reagan anti-drug campaigns of the eighties and found them extremely patronizing and ineffective. I grew up around a lot of people who used a lot of drugs and Mrs. Reagan’s platitude was simplistic. ) There are a lot of opportunities during this time of year to extend yourself - social events, shopping, decorating, planning, just going the extra mile. Skip some stuff. It’s okay. Take time to do nothing.
This won’t last. Meaning the holiday season and the weather and whatever state of mind you end up in. Seasons pass, months pass, weather passes. It can be stupid cold outside - I live in Minnesota and know this - but it will get warmer. It’s easy to forget, though, because there is no real evidence that it will. But it absolutely will and you know it. Apply that same knowledge to your mental health. A bad depressive stretch will end and you will feel better even if there is, metaphorically, a foot of snow on the ground and it’s 20 below.
Someone won’t be there and that sucks. Someone who used to always sit in that chair at Christmas has passed on. The table was always set for X number of people and now it’s one less. A person who used to tell stories is now someone you tell stories about. At this point, you have a choice to recognize that reality and feel it or not talk about the absence and try to forget about it. That second option won’t work, by the way. One thing you could do is think about the absence, the grief, the pain as a guest at the event. They are there because of love, they exist only because of the love that’s still going.
The ending of the Grinch story works out great for everyone except the beast. The beast isn’t even remembered as being a part of any particular species. Elk? Wolf? Grinch? We never learn. The important thing, Beast, all you ever will be known for, Beast, is how you were put over flame so that we might consume all that you are. Is this symbolic of people/you/society around this time of year? IF YOU WANT IT TO BE, SURE. If not, it’s just a grim observation about the poor Beast.
You can choose not to argue. It’s very possible that you’ll run across an uncle, a brother-in-law, a co-worker’s spouse, or someone else who happens to be The Worst. Anti-vaxxer, right-winger, jerk, or some other form of impossible human being and they will want to tell you all about how the vaccines are Bill Gates’ way of poisoning the world for Satan. Or something. Please remember that you have a choice at this juncture and one option is to not engage. You might WANT to engage, to prove that person wrong, to dress them down and show the flaws in their argument, to defeat them rhetorically for the greater good.
But even if you verbally eviscerate all they’ve said, they won’t learn. They won’t know they’ve lost the argument. You will gain no satisfaction. If you wrestle with a pig, you both get muddy and the pig likes it.