It's my favorite week of the year, this time between Christmas and New Year's.
No one wants to be working, we are all fat and happy off our sugar buzz and family contact, and with the progression from fall to winter is nearly complete, the air just chilly enough to keep us indoors with hibernating/hermit lifestyle.
Now, it's been a few years since I've had any fun doing the Christmas thing. I used to bake for the neighborhood and pick cards and make presents from the isles of Michael's crafts and spend pretty much the entire time from my birthday til Christmas morning thinking about and working on this or that aspect of making the day great for everyone. I don't want to say that Mom dying was the straw that broke that camel's back, but I was living at home until then and still had some of that kid excitement for gifts and surprises that has fizzled to nearly nothing, especially when coming from family.
Additionally, I am almost staunchly against setting New Year's resolutions. I remember thinking at 10 years old that I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up because I didn't know what I'd like in 10 years and found it ridiculous to pick something to strive for at 10 years old. It's a set up for disappointment in my eyes - if you get it, you are confined by the goals of a 10 year old, if you don't you feel like you can't accomplish what you set out to do. I much prefer to look around and know I'm going in a positive direction with my life, and leave the deadlines for accomplishments to the calendar of fate. When it comes right down to it, I get what I set out to do, but there is no way I could have expected last January 1st that "I want to be making more money" would have me pulling 10K/yr more for doing an easier job than the one I started on January 1st - let alone that I'd be living across the country to get it!
Compoundly, when I was out to party all the time, I resented that my bars were trying to charge me $50 to get in and play with all the assholes who only come out 3 times a year to fuck with my routine. Though I tried to make it a fun party night, the Vegas trip was the last attempt at a memorable holiday event; it was memorable, unfortunately.
My point with all this is that this week isn't my favorite because it's smack between two of my favorite holidays. I don't like remembering the traditions of holidays past, I don't like the planning and expectations of coming holidays, and I resent that I'm supposed to invest a sizeable monetary sum to gift or party on a particular day. Of late, I can add to this list that I abhor the concept that I should be sad I've got a short list of family members to acknowledge this season - I'll be sad about dead family whenever I feel like it, thankyouveryfuckingmuch.
I love this time of year because the rest of the world seems to come more in line with how I operate on a regular basis. "Be nice! It's Christmas!!!" has more people smiling in the grocery store, letting people merge on the highway, more ready for a Good Morning greeting on the way to the mailbox. There is more gratitude in the air, more thoughts of how they can be gracious receivers and thankless givers to loved ones and strangers alike. Even with year end stress at the office, people take their vacation time and remember to take care of themselves regardless of what the inbox holds. We try to remind each other that health and family come first, but something about December makes people act on it. It is like an community exhale. What is really important floats to the surface faster than the marshmallows in our hot chocolate, and for a brief part of the year I don't get snide guffaws when I put on a cheery smile in the morning or say thank you or forgive someone's bad mood. The winter air sets everyone in a more sedentary mood, letting us take time to be with our thoughts as we hide from the weather in our homes, and suddenly I'm not the only one starting sentences with "I was just sitting on the couch last night and this great idea hit me..."
Amidst all this inner joy spawned from blending in better during the holiday season, I find myself coming to realizations that are most certainly from the more reflective state of mind that seeps in with the change of the calendar. As I was checking my emails and having a cup of coffee in this empty house, suddenly I'm overcome with how much of my life now is a repeat of what I've already done.
- roomie is 1) named Mike, this is the 3rd; 2) the live in home owner, I've had 2; 3) male that I'm not sleeping with, I've had 1; 4) a teacher with enough extra curricular activities to make it impossible to know if/when there is a safe time to shimmy from the bathroom to the bedroom naked, my second.
- job is 1) an admin job of only women coworkers; 2) has me as a backup for the rest of the team; 3) has me killing time all day until someone says "are you busy right now?"; 4) bombards me with Dilbert/Cathy/Office Space cliché’s so that I can't even laugh at these comedies without crying at how people can snapshot my life and laugh just as hard. Too many to count the redundancy here. Moving on.
- gym is 1) more of a reason to flirt than work out; 2) my trainer talks/walks/acts/laughs/gets nervous just like Sexy because they are basically the same age; 3) close enough to be my something to do when I hate my house; 4) where I get chatted up by the staff, and get a buzz from the social aspect; 5) what I look forward to and plan my schedule around.
- guy is 1) totally inappropriate, completely not worth my effort, a waste of energy; 2) someone I want a friendship from, but know it's just a cop out excuse to allow me to not hate the situation I've put myself in; 3) just a fuck, and without the fun is more about the intimacy afterward than the fun of the sex; 4) another guy I used as an excuse to move away from everything I know, and will always love just for that, but won't tell how much he means to me for instilling the confidence and will power to change my life; 5) will always resent for helping me change my life but not taking any responsibility for it and letting me flounder on my own once they have me in their neighborhood.
- family is 1)far enough away to not come knock on my door; 2) assuming I don't care because I "left them"; 3) fucking up, lying, omitting facts, overly superficial, and absolutely no support system to me, again by reason that I've detached from them by relocating; 4) a sore spot because I can't have a boundary and a family simultaneously.
So, what to make of all this as the Adult Top 40 radio station continues my slippery trek down memory lane?? Either that I’ve still got lessons to learn in these areas and I’ll repeat these scenarios as long as it takes before moving on, or that I refuse to let go of these aspects of my past, or maybe this is just who I am. Is it that bad to move away from family that leaves you feeling slimy and depressed? Is there something innately bad-roomie-live-in-homeowner-named-Mike that I am comfortable complaining about? I’ve had admin jobs forever and I’m good at the project basis of being the pick-up-the-slack girl, and I’m making almost decent money, so who cares if I’m doing it again?
The only problem I have with any of it is the sense that I’m bigger than all this. There is potential I’m not using, there is a pattern I’m setting to accept things as they are instead of creating the life I’m capable of. I’ve taken steps others are afraid of, I’ve got the mindset that anything is possible, and the tenacity to make it happen when I finally decide it’s what to do. In that light, how many roomies named Mike, fuck buddies, flirty gym rats and boring jobs do I have to endure before asking my 10 year old self what I really want to be when I grow up and go after that? In the mean time, I’ve got $163 in my checking account, a personal trainer who has my inner thighs feeling as sore as I’d have liked my fuck to have left them, a head cold I’ve kept from turning into a chest cold or an ear infection, a healthy desire to be a homeowner, a recurring thought that going back to school would be good for me, and a house to myself for another 4 days that I vowed would feel much more like I live here by the time I have to share it again. I’m not rearranging furniture or commandeering half the living room (though I thought about it), just making the kitchen cupboards useable spaces and finding space in the storage closets for my 6 boxes to hide. Then I’ll go back to checking foreclosure lists and course listings and social options for this upcoming party night, as I’m just sure I’ll be feeling better by then and staying home to watch Ryan Seacrest drop the ball on the Times Square I can almost smell from here is just another repeat I refuse to add to the list.
I realize I don’t post like I used to, I’m still afraid the office can read my stuff and I don’t like having to remember to delete the cookies from the roomies computer. Also, I write in a paperback journal I keep at my bedside more than I used to. If I don’t see you, enjoy the rest of this holiday season, and cheers to keeping the friendly, compassionate, grateful mood long past next week :0)