The holidays have come and gone, the last remnants of lights disappearing from the houses of those reluctant to lose the spirit of the season. Since I didn’t decorate, there’s been no need to un-decorate, and so instead I thought about the time and what I learned.
First, holidays are about others. Until this year there was always a piece that involved receiving, but this year even that last tiny portion disappeared. I’ve been discovering for the last few years that the best parts of gifts and giving was trying to find a gift that surprised or met a need. This year it came with a gift of a book to a friend who didn’t know I’d been paying attention, and to a late gift of 45’s (yes, records believe it or not!) that brought back good memories for someone.
I also discovered that the time can be highly productive. Without having work lurking in the back of my mind (because almost all projects slowed to a frozen-molasses crawl during the last three weeks of December) I became free to focus on the things that I had been putting off for weeks or months but that I’d not had the energy to tackle. From cleaning out closets to building new shelves, framing pictures, and catching up on reading, a whole list of things was accomplished. (A word of caution however; don’t save it all for one week! I was exhausted after the first five days because I was doing so much! Fortunately I had a couple of extra days to recover).
Finally, I acknowledged yet again that there is a difference between alone and lonely….although sometimes I don’t realize it until it’s too late. Many of the days of tasks were done alone, and there were a couple of days that I probably didn’t speak to anyone because I was in the apartment taking care of things. But while that’s good, the alone times tend to morph and change and become lonely times. And in the cold of winter darkness that can be especially trying.
Clearly this post has been percolating for a bit, because the holidays I’m talking about were Christmas and New Year, not Groundhog Day and Valentine’s Day!