I finished my school assignments at about 2 AM last Thursday morning. I went to work on Thursday and stayed until 2 AM Friday morning, glad to finally have a mind clear of school and anxious to prove to my boss after weeks of being cranky, forgetful, and visibly tired, that I could focus.
Friday is the first day of my weekend and I've rarely been so happy to see it come. I started it off with a little jog (a very little jog) and then shifted into Christmas shopping mode. I did a ton of cleaning around the house, spent about 5 hours running around to nearby shops, and finished it all off with a massage. Ahhh. That night I stayed up until 6 AM Saturday (I know; I've been having a lot of insomnia lately) finishing my Christmas cards and turning my 2nd bedroom into Santa's Workshop.
On Saturday I set out to a local, newish shopping center that I'd never been to before to finish my shopping. That's right. I went to a new shopping center on the Saturday before Christmas. I limited myself to 2 1/2 hours, come hell or high water, and what happened next is truly a Christmas miracle because I enjoyed the hell out of those 2 1/2 hours. I went into just a few of my favorite shops and thought of the people I was buying for and magically drew a few perfect little symbols of love right into my shopping basket. It was that easy. And then I went to the next shop and did it again. I left a couple hours later with treasures I was excited to give and my shopping done.
On Saturday night I celebrated Christmas with a great friend for what we decided was the 18th year. What a gift. And then I decided it was an awesome idea to stay up until 5 AM Sunday morning preparing 36 gift bags for residents of a rehab center I've been donating a little time to for the past six months. Addicts are kind of assholes and I've noticed that most of the guys don't have family or friends lining up to call, write, or visit. I think recovery is hard enough without going through the holidays alone, so I'm hoping this gesture will let them know that someone cares.
Today my workweek started (still not sure why you guys let me get a job) and tonight I'm racing to get everything wrapped and boxed to be mailed tomorrow. I know I'll pay a mint. But I have candles lit and my Christmas music on and I feel overwhelmed with gratitude. I'm not saying that the holidays are easy. This is a really tough one, actually. But I think it was those years in Japan spending the holidays alone that gave me a new perspective. You'll never hear me bitching about Christmas music in October or stores putting out holiday items before Thanksgiving. I've always felt those are complaints for people without real problems.
Besides, I know what I've got. And it's a lot.