Dec 18, 2009

I Can Weather The Storm



It's been challenging to get in the Christmas spirit this year.

I'm marking one year since my father's passing, which makes things sad, and I'm also marking ten years next year that I'll have moved back from living abroad. Decades bring lists, reflections, and reminiscences on choices made and accomplishments won. Time, that old browbeater, keeps running by. It's been especially tough for me and, I think, many others like me in the media industry; there have been layoffs, buy-outs, so-called "re-structurings" and considerable drops in income. I'm not actually able to buy presents this year, a fact that both mortifies and relieves. Karloff might intone, "maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store... maybe Christmas means a little bit more" but of course the nature of Western society is such that the act of buying or not has been rendered not so much a choice as a duty. And yet I'm the sort who's taken a keen delight in the act of giving, which is a kind of lovely gift infused with reciprocal energy.

So I eschewed buying gfits -out of basic pocket-book necessity -in favour of hosting friends for a meal this past weekend. Combining a Christmas-y get-together with my own recent birthday made for a festive, fun atmosphere; we ate, we drank, we laughed. New friendships and connections were formed, experiences and observations shared, beautiful food and drink passed around. It felt like the perfect gift. And no, I didn't post a bit of it online; no Facebook updates, Flickr photos or in-the-moment tweets. Somehow, choosing to keep the gathering out of the online public eye made it all the more intimate and special. I'd like to think one of the things I can give myself, my friends, and the world is a firm sense of borders, and an understanding of privacy. Narcissism be damned; the evening wasn't about me, or any one person, but about us, as a unit, sitting around a food-filled table, drinking, talking, laughing. I was reminded of the innate value of friendship that evening, and how it is perhaps the greatest gift of all.

Still, there is, of course, of dealing with family this time of year. Are we friends with our family? Working towards it? Given up? I hate to admit it, but the first couple of years back from my time overseas, I'd purposely vanish in a haze of rummy nog and mulled wine to avoid the stress. This is not a wise course of action. I'm happy to say my own relationship with my family has improved to a point I could've never imagined a year ago, let alone ten. The old agage that "peace begins at home" has never felt more true. And this year, I have decided that music might be the best medicine -or perhaps complement. I'm still dealing with swallowing the bitter pills of guilt for the present, and nostalgia for the past, but knowing I've formed such strong, positive relationships with good, sincere people is a great reminder that those pills are ... well, useless. I should spit them out so I can smile at the lovely sounds of Frank, Dean, Ella, Vince... et al. Next year all our troubles will be miles away. Right?

4 comments:

MK Piatkowski said...

Sounds like it was a lovely evening and I applaud you keeping it private. Privacy seems such a rare commodity these days - or maybe I just treasure it so much coming from a large family. Time spent with friends truly is the greatest gift.

I agree peace comes from within. If everyone could find what you have found, this would be a pretty cool world.

scullylovepromo said...

What a wonderful blog! Thank you for sharing your feelings. I can relate to so much of what you've written. I can't afford Christmas, but I'm buying gifts for my 5 nieces & nephews and we draw names amongst the adults in my family and I got my brother-in-law, Rob. I can't bear the thought of not buying some Christmas gifts and so I do, and the bills just have to wait. What I really miss is being able to buy gifts for my close friends.

Having a lovely, intimate dinner for friends at this time of the year is an excellent way to celebrate and it's clear that you are grateful and take pleasure in the simple, fine things in life. I am sure that all of your friends were thrilled to be at that table with you and the food was likely divine!

Have a relaxing, joyful, reflective and pleasant holiday and thank you for making me pause to reflect.

Love & hugs,
Christine xox

thomasenaalicea said...

hello~nice to meet u..............................

Kimberly said...

We can all weather the storm if we look out for each other and stick together. Thanks for a thoughtful blog post and great dinner.