Monday, December 30, 2013

My Christmas List

I finished my running around for Christmas and then came home from work on Christmas Eve and felt - for the first time all month - kind of relaxed and happy about the holiday. Then I wished that I had a couple weeks to actually get my house decorated and enjoy the season. Of course, I didn't - the whole damn thing would be over 24 hours later. But it made me realize that I do like some things about the holiday, and that maybe I can structure it next year so that the parts I enjoy less (like the pressure of crossing items off the to-do list) are done earlier and I have some time to do things I like.

Depression is so mysterious to me. I keep thinking that I didn't DO anything (that I know of) or CHOOSE to feel this way, and yet it descended on me at some point and won't. fucking. leave. I was sitting in a movie theater yesterday crying (it's what I do now) and wondering why I was crying, and I recognized that I was having a fun day and had more fun planned for later. I wanted to write about my day because I worry that I'll look back on my early 40's as a blur of confusion and sadness and loneliness. It's like my time in Japan - that was almost 4 years of intense loneliness and working an incredibly demanding/consuming/pretty damn toxic job. That's what I think of when I think of that time. But when I look at my blog during those years, I see something else - tons of days with neighborhood parties and exciting local travel and participation in the culture in wacky and wonderful ways. That happened, too. It's amazing how depression rewrites history. I've heard it before, but I didn't realize how true it is: depression lies.

This is how my day went yesterday: I slept in (love the sleep, absolutely love sleeping), and then got up and puttered around the house doing little things I needed to do (paying bills, laundry) and a few things I didn't (buying a Blazer sweatshirt off eBay.) Then I went out for lunch (salad; I never make myself salad but a great salad is amazingly yummy) and then I went shopping at the Japanese stores - Uwajimaya and Kinokuniya. It's been a while since I'd been there, so they have lots of new things I haven't seen. I love going there, just being among stuff that is familiar in a weird way. Then I went to a movie at Bridgeport (Inside Llewyn Davis) that was very good, but probably not the best timing for me. (I had a feeling it might not be. It's about the NY folk music scene in the '60's, something that is very "me," and also reminds me of my dad. Plus, the whole premise of the film was very melancholic.) After that, I called my mom and we talked for a while - I genuinely enjoy hearing about her days and what she's been up to. That was fun. And then I decided to go out to The Grotto for their holiday Festival of Lights, which I last went to around 1996. Crazy. It's so beautiful; I don't know why it's been so long since I visited. While I was there, walking around the wonderfully-lit grounds, I decided to make a visit an annual event, and I started thinking about other "traditions" or ways I can mark the holidays. There are so many difficult things about being single in general and specifically during the holidays that I won't even go into it; it's a strange thought to hold in my brain that I should have holiday traditions as a single person. A party of one isn't "worthy" of or needing traditions, are they? But I need something, so I figured that a visit to The Grotto was a good place to start.

I walked all over the grounds and then sat in the freezing cold weather and cried a bit and listened to the singers and looked at the beautiful lights and appreciated it all. I remembered the last time I'd visited (when I'd come with a then almost-boyfriend to watch a then kind-of foster child sing in a junior high school choir; goodness, I've lived many lives) and thought of the holidays in general, my family and my dad, religion, the seasons, pretty much everything. That's what I do, too. I really enjoyed experiencing a holiday event that brought me some joy. It's definitely on my traditions list.