It's the holiday season and I'm not depressed and anxious.
At least I don't think I'm depressed and anxious.
We have our Christmas tree up, which is nice.
We started our shopping earlier than usual.
That was good.
We've decided that gifts for the kids will be thoughtful but not extravagant.
Books, lots of books, and cool t-shirts and cool socks.
We are officially not getting a new game system. We can't afford it and we don't need it.
I have noticed over the course of the past few years that the Christmases when we buy less stuff, the kids seem happier.
It was easier to buy less when the kids got hip to the truth about Santa.
They were both pretty young when they started asking the hard questions. It was such a relief not to have to lie to them anymore.
When they believed in Santa they were under the impression that the number of gifts they got was a reflection of how good they were. My husband and I would break the bank trying to reassure our kids that they were indeed imbued with more than enough goodness.
Inevitably at the end of the day they'd realize that cousins and friends had received way more stuff from Santa than they had. They began to draw logical but wrong conclusions about who's good and who's bad and how you can tell.
Right before we killed the Santa myth, my very rational very serious very bright daughter who was 7 at the time, pointed out the glaring inequity. She said something like, "I am very good. Why doesn't Santa bring me as much as he brings other kids? Does Santa think the kids who live in big houses are better than me? Does Santa think I am Bad? Because if he does, he's stupid and he's a big jerk and I will find him and I will kick him."
I was so glad to say goodbye to Santa. Life got simpler.
Anyway, I'm trying to take inventory of my holiday anxieties.
I'm a bit worried about Christmas dinner because I think I volunteered to cook Christmas dinner again this year. I may have invited people to my house for Christmas dinner...okay, so did invite people over for dinner and that means I'm supposed to make good food. That's sort of stressful.
I must have been high on Thanksgiving Turkey fumes when I agreed to host Christmas dinner.
I don't expect we'll be making a lovely roast like last year, but it's nothing I'm going to lose sleep over.
We'll eat something, there will be food, Christmas dinner will happen, it just might look different than usual.
I think this is the first year ever that I haven't been crazed with holiday anxiety.
It's weird. I almost feel like I'm forgetting to do something.
Christmas tree? Yup.
Holiday gifts? Yup.
Christmas cards? Yup.
Inordinate feelings of doom and impending disaster?
Inordinate feelings of doom and impending disaster? Huh. Not this year.
One of the few things I remember clearly from last year is the sound of my heart pounding ominously in my ears. Looking at last year's Christmas photos I look like I'm going to have a heart attack. My face is flushed beet red and not from wine either, and I have that clenched jaw toothy grin that either signifies rigor mortis has set in or I'm teetering on the brink of hysteria. My eyes are glazed.
Everything about my aspect is screaming, HELP ME MERRY GODDAMNEDMOTHERFUCKING CHRISTMAS CAN I GET YOU ANYTHING TO EAT OR DRINK OH MY GOD SOMEBODY HELP ME!
This year, so far, I am mostly calm and strangely not sad.
What's wrong with me?
I must be depressed and anxious, I just don't know it yet.
Or am I?
I don't really know.
Maybe I'm normal.
Maybe I'm really just fine and there is nothing to worry about.
What if I'm fine and there is nothing to worry about?
Let me try that out and see that that feels like:
I am fine and there is nothing to worry about.
Wow. That's okay.
Everybody is good enough and there will be enough of everything to go around.
I've got my good kids, my good husband, my good family, and beloved good friends to hold on to.
Everything is going to be fine.
You've got lots of good people in your life, too.
You've got everything you need to be okay.
This year I propose we all spend more time with the people we love than we spend with our worries and our fears.
Who knows, we might stumble out of anxiety and sadness into some kind of happiness.