Usually at this time of year I’m writing posts like “how to survive the family at Christmas”. So this is weird. This whole year has been weird hasn’t it?
Weird, strange, difficult, scary, heartbreaking, lonely, interesting. Quite a lot to pack into to a 9 month long existential crisis. It’s been a a prison, an escape, a torture, an opportunity, a learning, an eye opener, a mind opener, a mind closer…
A “trigger city” of a year.
Also – a relief ?
That last one is …well, I’m going to say weird again. Some people are today going to feel relief at not “having” to do a lot of things. No excuses “need” be made. An enforced rest. For some.
And yes, for some it’s even more lonely than ever. There’s been illness, shock, grief. Loss of health and loss of life. And Christmas is always agonising after a loss. But more so if the ritual of that loss is taken away, as it has been this year. It has felt cruel. It has left much unfinished business, the absent hugs have left in their place a space for ache, pain and rawness.
We’re shielded and masked but feel more exposed and vulnerable than ever.
We ache to be held. Even the non huggers among us are starting to itch. Crikey – just to shake a hand and not have to think about it or feel “bold” or afraid. We collectively want this all to be over. In this, we are truly unified. I don’t remember ever feeling that before.
Yep – this year is different.
Whatever your feelings are, honour them, honour yourself. This Christmas, more than any before (in my lifetime at least) my “there is no normal” mantra rings true for me. So I’m repeating it. There’s been no precedent. We’re setting it right now. This is what they’ll learn about in school in fifty years.
This weird year where time stood still and we were taken hostage by a cruel and powerful master we need a microscope to even see.
I heard someone say that we need to stop complaining that Christmas has been ‘taken’ from us. That in many important ways, it has been given back to us. I’m not religious in any way. But I can see that this year the Christmas we’ll have will be closer to the “ideal” than it has been in years. This year’s toy show, or ‘cry-fest’ as I’ve come to think of it, unabashed softie that I am, was a great example of that. We’ve supported our neighbours more, valued our friends more, valued our time, our health. These are good things. We’re more awake.
This time next year, when we’re all vaccinated, feeling braver, and maybe able to take our masks off, I really hope we remember that.
Wishing you all a very happy Christmas and let’s hang in there together.
We’re nearly out the gap.