Wishful thinking is an enticing line of thought. It triggers regrets from our past, diverts us away from the present,and instills a flicker of excitement for the future. This time of year always fascinates me, it’s as if society completely changes for a month. Work eases up, family comes to town, we take time to cook our meals, and most importantly opportunities to give and receive love are plentiful.
Many of you might argue that the holidays are in fact stressful and full of expectation. The house has to be cleaned, your kids are running wild inside on cold days and no school, you practically live at the store and money is tight from all those gifts you just couldn’t say no to buying.Contrarily,I encourage you humor one simple belief I have which is this: The holidays quench your desire for intimate relationship most of us go without all year. Yes, all year.
It is a happiness that you find in seeing coat drives, salvation army buckets, operation christmas child donations, hugs at airports, stories of giving to the needy, veterans who make it home, and the awkward but delightful experience of strangers singing at your doorstep. It isn’t even about the best gifts we receive, but that someone loved us enough to know how much those gifts would mean to us. Of course, we all love getting gifts, but I can tell you, there have been many christmas mornings my parents made me and my brothers (even if they don’t want to admit it) cry. It was never because of what was under the tree, but the overwhelming feeling of love that came with it.
It is true that as we get older we begin to understand love from a different perspective and certainly with greater capacity. We cherish the time with family and friends that is uninterrupted, boundless, and exactly what we wished for. Yet, by the end of December most of us will have stepped back into “reality”. We will feel like we can’t escape from the monotomy of each day. The bills will still be there, so will fights with our spouse, and weekends that are filled with just as much work as the weekdays. We won’t see salvation army buckets all over town, and if someone comes to our door singing we are more likely to tell them to shut up so we can get some sleep. Just like that, the joy fades.
Not because the trees go down, or work days speed up again, but because our focus on relationship decreases. We think after a frustrating day at work that dinner and netflix in isolation from stupid humans is the answer (and somedays it is) but what if really, we needed to call a friend. We spend our lunch break eating in a car and staring down our Facebook account instead of asking someone to go to lunch. We don’t think to give more of ourself on the weekends because well…didn’t we do that all week? We know we want to call that person back but what if they need me? I’m too exhasted. I’m telling you, regardless of your temperament, humans were instrinsically designed to thrive off community and relationship. When we lock up, lock into our screens, and let enervating days control our joy we become victim to believing we can only experience this level of joy one month out of the year.
Give yourself a real gift this year, and make the relationships you cherish the priority. Look for ways to budget giving to a local charity, spend money on plane tickets instead of more “stuff”. Invite friends over for dinner on a Tuesday. Send flowers to someone, just kidding send chocolate. Put a card in the mail when it would be easier to send a facebook message. Make others know the sincerity of your gratitude in being able to call them mother, friend, or lover. Doing this is imperative to your joy, because on the days where life is changing with the wind and the earth shakes beneath your feet, you will always have someone to be your December.