Holidays, Blah-lidays.

This post contains some raw, random thoughts hashed out over a couple of days. But please, please, please don’t leave an “I’m sorry for you” comment”. If anything, feel good for me. I’m not struggling, I’m just figuring my way through something I never experienced before a couple of years ago.

Okay… I thought I was good. I thought I was doing great. I thought that I was way over whatever had possessed me at this point last two years.

Apparently, that’s not the case. Don’t be alarmed (don’t you always hate when a sentence begins like that?)… I’m still much better than I was last year. But whatever got hold of me then has reared its ugly head a couple of times in the past week. I’m dealing with it, first by reminding myself how good I really have it and then by trying to recognize those moments when I feel bad, using some outside tool (not drugs) to try and snap myself out of it. Doing something, anything different really works for me.

I’m not a bah-humbug kind of guy. In fact, I used to be someone who very much looked forward to the holiday season, enjoying every tradition and celebration with enthusiasm and joy.

But the last couple of years I’ve been, well, I don’t know. I don’t know exactly, and that’s part of what’s frustrating about it. It’s like I’m looking through this clear glass door at a room full of holiday partiers. I know I can walk through the door and join the party any time I want, but I can’t bring myself to do it. Is that weird? It sounds weird.

It’s my own fault, really. It’s not because I don’t want to join the party. I think that I’m ready to join the party, but I want everything to be perfect before I walk in. Everything. Everything in my life must be perfect, according to my idea of perfection. Otherwise, I’m worried I’ll be rejected because I’m not ready, or not deserving, or whatever.

So my post today is an attempt to change that pattern. During the next month plus, I’m going to give myself permission to ease up on the things that are driving me crazy right now. I’m going to say it’s okay to join the party for a while, and then look again at the imperfect parts of my life to see if they’re still as important as they seem today.

I’m going to go out and take part in some holiday gatherings, among people who smile and laugh and share in the festiveness of it all. You’ll probably see a few extra pictures in the next month as proof that I actually did what I said I would do.

And if you encounter someone like me this year? No pity, please. Just talk to me. Strike up a conversation. Ask me about something. Anything to snap me out of my self-imposed malaise. Keep me engaged… don’t let me emotionally wander away, because I could be going off to a bad place. For absolutely no good reason.

The holidays are strange, aren’t they? I’m not in any immediate danger or anything. I just wish I felt more like celebrating. A lot of others want to celebrate too. Is that too much to ask for?

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  • Nel  On November 27, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    I tend to get that way on school breaks. I think it’s partly because I build up the break so much in my own mind that reality can’t possibly meet my expectations so I end up disappointed that reality is so…real. Then the blah. It’s dumb.


  • Scott E  On November 27, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Don’t strive for perfection, Stephen, strive for happiness. As I’m moving on in life, I see so many others who have skeletons in their closet: health ailments, financial crises, shattered relationships, and so on. Nobody’s perfect, not even close. That idealistic facade that some hid behind in the high-school years eventually comes down, The homecoming king and queen who were once the subjects of envy are now the subjects of sympathy. Be proud of who you are, and be confident. Because in the end, the hand you were dealt is probably not much better or worse off than that of anyone else – and people really don’t care where you fall in that ranking anyway.

    I’m not sure if this has anything to do with what you’re talking about, but it’s a phenomenon I’m seeing a lot of now that social media has reunited me with old acquaintances of twentysomething years ago. I’ve really taken note of it as of late, and it’s been quite surprising.

    Just have fun and enjoy the company of the ones you’re with this season. That’s all anyone asks for. You’re a good person, and you’re good to others. That’s what matters.

    I hope I didn’t violate your rule about what not to say in the comments…


  • Scott K. Johnson  On November 30, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Hey man, just wanted to applaud you for exploring this issue. That’s a brave step, and I’m proud of you.


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