It’s quiet inside—not a normal state of affairs in my home. Normally myself, OH and our four children use it as both a home base and staging ground from which to coordinate our busy, interconnected lives. For now, though, the rush and coordinated effort it takes to run a household has deemed me, if only for a while, redundant. The whirr of the laptop is only punctuated now and then by the clicking of the heaters as they expand an contract against the wallboard.
It’s quiet outside too. Cold, though, presently -12 but it doesn’t feel quite that bad. No wind right now, another rare state of affairs for, not only is my home set right against the back drop of the Northeast Atlantic but also the cul-de-sac on which my house is located happens to be the highest populated spot in the whole city. We do wind and freezing rain quite well here. We also do beautiful sunsets—a fair compensation.
Peaceful: an unfamiliar state of affairs considering it’s Tibb’s Eve. One would expect my home’s normally chaotic state to be even more so, but not this time. An unexpected delay has meant I have to temporarily stand-down for now at the eLearning contract I’m currently working on. No more paid work until January 6th. The rest of the family is either at work or gone shopping. Me? I’m done. Long ago I learned the value of not procrastinating; at least as far as Christmas shopping is concerned.
That leaves what I consider the best gift of all, a few hours in which there’s no urgent need to do anything; time to reflect.
I admit to always having mixed feelings about Christmas. I’m no scrooge but neither am I one of those sappy fools who run around chasing silly myths like “Believing in Santa Claus” pursuing the false happiness we think we can have through acquiring and giving “stuff,” all the while spouting seasonal music while decked off in clothes specially-bought for the season.
Mind you I do have a couple of red and purple shirts that I favour this time of the year. When I go out I make a special effort to be presentable; no T-shirts, and, if given a suitable drinkable bribe, will play a few seasonal tunes on the guitar—might even sing too if you offer me more than one “bribe.” Santa is welcome as long as I don’t have to insist out loud that it’s anything more than good fun. Gifts for those close to me will not be a problem and I’ll certainly take the time to attend to spiritual duties (warning: don’t probe this point as my usual long-windedness can easily become considerably more so if you push the right buttons). And, yes, visiting; time will be put aside to ensure that the appropriate catching up is done. I even sat with OH and daughter and watched—and enjoyed—“Mr. Stink” last evening. Simply put: it will be fun.
But there is a line that won’t get crossed; things I won’t do. Things like: wearing silly sweaters, defending Santa Clause’s so-called “existence” when someone wants to get serious about it, attending social events because I’m “supposed to.” In particular, stress will be pushed as far away as the line will let it go. The line, where is it? Right on the edge of what I think should be happening this time of the year. Here’s a list of those “things” if you are interested:
- Slowing down, being more fully aware and focusing on being grateful instead of driven.
- Strengthening and renewing bonds with family and friends.
- Reflecting on the past year with an eye toward mending any damage I have wrought and planning to do better next time around, hopefully.
Anything else is secondary; unwelcome even.
The sun just shone through the living room window. It’s got some heat in it. A quick glance at the ‘phone shows that the temperature has warmed up all the way to -10; balmy. There’s a bit of ice left in the driveway that needs to be cleared out before tonight’s snowfall, else it will spread. Salt doesn’t do much at this temperature so it will go the hard way, chop by chop. No problem—that’s just an excuse to get outside. Just a few chores today—cook supper, clean up, that’s about it.
Tomorrow, hopefully, will be much the same.
To all of you who drop by here from time to time I wish you all the best for now and in the coming year. I hope that you get the chance to enjoy a few special moments with those you love, the good fortune to be happy in the moments left in this year and, finally, the opportunity to reflect on past, present and future.