Christmas Day: 2013

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You know something I have never liked about Christmas? The emphasis on nostalgia.

Where is the gratitude for the present (such as has been robbed of Thanksgiving), or attention towards the future (equally robbed of New Year’s day)?

Should this not be a time when families appreciate just seeing one another show up,  and congratulate one another for surviving yet another exhaustive year? If so, why do we spend so much time adding insult to injury?

Life is hard, especially if you are an adult, out on your own. And I imagine that, in a modern, first-world country—with a society divided at its very core through its celebration of independence of and hyper expression of individuality—this nation-sanctioned coming together that we do on Christmas day should be something of a morale boost, or a pep rally. Not a time to go around cutting one another down, or whining about why things cannot be like they were back in the “good old days”. We don’t live in the good old days. The “good old days” were never the good old days, for we whined about “the good old days” even back then. (Good and loyal consumers that we are, we can never be satisfied with what we have. Hah!)

No, let me explain to you just what the “good old days” really are:

Put plainly, they are little more than mental photographs of our lives suspended in our minds’ eye; still images that we photo shop; adding or exaggerating pleasantries;  enhancing with impossible lighting; blurring out the petty fights; filtering out the inconvenient noise; cropping out those we no longer talk about; framing everything just so. But that is not reality.

Reality is often ugly. But accepting that allows us to deal with it. And if we deal with it can be build onto it; make something better of it. Forgive me for using another metaphor so soon but, I think it is better that we should consider ourselves as marble stone. And, like marble, life weathers us and wears us down. Yet we are also artists, and we can sculpt ourselves and one another. And since we cannot replace stone that has already been chipped away, it is best not to dwell on this loss, but to make the most of what remains. Likewise, even if the “good old days” really were so grand, they are gone now, and all that we can do is adapt. And sometimes we can make up for those gaps, and sometimes we can’t. The point is, we shouldn’t be tearing one another down. Life already does that to us anyway.

Anyways, I think you get my point even if these are poor metaphors. I hope yours is a happy Christmas. And it would please me if we all made it through the jump into the New Year.

Love always,

-J.I.A.

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