I have to say that I’m glad today is the end of the holiday season. And while I enjoyed certain perks during our wonderfully low key holiday break, I can still honestly say that I just don’t like the holiday season and I would prefer that it didn’t exist.
I like every day life. I really do. I like the ins and outs of normal existance. I’m fine with stepping out of that for trips to places I want to go, or things I particularly want to do, but just because it’s December and everyone else is doing it isn’t a good enough reason for me. I think maybe I prefer to keep things on an even keel instead of having big highs and lows. That’s probably disfunctional, but it’s the truth.
I’m happiest when I’m writing and can devote my stray thoughts to the project I’m working on. When I’m bogged down with thoughts of gift lists and holiday cards and ornaments and festive meals, and people we were supposed to call but didn’t, and do we have everything we could possibly need before the grocery store that is our life’s blood closes down for the day, my stray thoughts are spoken for. And when I’m not spending my days in the writing trenches, I start the cycle of beating up on myself about being too far away from my writing. I start up with all the fears about whether my writing accomplishments up until this point have just been a major fluke. I can look at the facts and talk myself down, but it’s still this nagging feeling of ick that follows me around until I can sit down, pound out some pages and say, “Phew, I can still write.” It’s one of the ways I get on my own nerves, but, hey, if I weren’t so neurotic, I probably wouldn’t be a writer. I’m learning to accept it as par for the course, and I’m working at making adjustments to accomodate my neroses instead of swimming upstream all the time.
This year, we managed the holidays well by not doing a whole lot of anything (although, I’d still be happy doing even less next year). I think I might even be willing to admit that I actually enjoyed the holidays, I just hated the stress that leads up to the holidays, but we did try hard to keep it minimal. We didn’t get a tree. We kept things simple with gifts. I really did intend to get holiday cards out, but I only sent out about 10 and then got caught up with other things. This is the first time since I was 20 that I haven’t sent out cards to my whole list. I think, instead, I may just make an effort to write an actual letter to a person from my list every month this year. That’s more meaningful than writing “Wishing you all the best for the holidays and in the New Year,” and scribbling my name and J’s over and over again anyway.
The low key thing really paid off. I was able to dive back into my folk singer project, come up with a lot of new ideas for my character, and pound out a good chunk of pages. My productivity kept the nagging feeling of ick to a minimum.
There were more good things that happened over holiday time (some even because of holiday time). Here are a few:
- J had a relaxed work schedule and I got to be around him lots and lots. I know it’s probably a little sickening, but I just like occupying the same space as J. We coexist so well together, and even when we’re focusing on different things, I’m just happier knowing he’s around.
- We ate good food.
- I got to meet NPW and Kir while they were in town for holiday festivities. You should totally be jealous of this, because they both completely and totally rock.
- I got to have a crazy long lunch with my friend K, since she’s in town on break from grad school. She is one of my favorite favorite people.
- I had an awesome, highly philosophical exchange with Neil via e-mail that put some things in perspective for me.
- I got to have a good long Christmas Eve chat with Lady.
- J & I had a great time ringing in the new year with one of my writer-friends and his family.
- We spent tons and tons of time with the dogs.
- We watched a ridiculous number of Doctor Who episodes, although a few perk points get subtracted because the tenth Doctor is not as amazing as the ninth Doctor (but really, could anyone be as amazing as the ninth?). If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you really need to watch Doctor Who (the new series, I haven’t seen the old one). The production quality sucks, but the story lines are great and the characters are endearing. And, I think I learned something about putting a character in hot water. Those writers take the art of cliffhangers to a new level.
- I discovered MI-5 (or Spooks if you’re in the UK), thanks to a Netflix recommendation. The main character looks John Cusack and has a lovely British accent. The show is great too, but really, after the first point in its favor, does it even need to be? It’s my new favorite thing to watch while I’m doing housework (Is Netflix Instant Queue not the best thing ever?)
- 2008 went away (2008 was a rough one, wasn’t it?)
- I’ve made it through 9 days of the 10-14 day wait on Argo’s biopsy results without pulling out all of my hair, (although, I’m hoping the holidays didn’t slow everything down, because waiting more than 4-5 more days will probably result in baldness). Here’s hoping the growth was benign and we can package up 2008 as the horrible year of dog cancer, put it in a box and shove it back on a shelf in the basement to forget about it.
- Stella got a bath (and boy did she need it).
- I had eggnog in my coffee every morning.
But, in 2009, I’d prefer to do my celebrating on my own terms, thank you very much. At the very least, I’d like to avoid the late October through December “oh, crap, the holidays are fast approaching, where does the time go?” thing next year.