This is not my favorite time of the year. I pick up a bunker mentality, just keeping my eyes down and trying to get through the holiday season without losing it. I can't say precisely why this time of year gets under my skin, but I have a few theories. The weather and the darkness aren't my favorite, but I do like winter clothes and the lights in the town are awfully pretty. I don't have any awful memories of the holidays, at least, none which would poison my feelings about the season. I don't have any religious inclinations, so there's no weight to the symbolism of the holidays bearing on me. 

When I was younger and less happy with my life, I assumed it was loneliness and lack of financial success bringing me down. New Year's, in particular, always served as a signpost encouraging me to evaluate where I was versus where I felt I wanted or ought to be, and that was a bit of a bummer. Not having enough money to really "do" the holidays was stressful as well, particularly when my more well-off friends were being so generous. 

All of the above have contributed to my winter melancholy, but my current theory is that it's the wave of obligations which brings me down and replaces joy with stress. It's not that I don't want to see, or talk to, or even exchange gifts with these people. It's the fact that I'm obligated to do all of it in such a short span. I'd love to do all of these things when the mood strikes, not plan ahead and set dates and times and do so because I feel required to do it.

I know it's a pretty small and petty complaint, but I feel this way every year and I just wish I could enjoy this jovial time without the sense that there's something which I have to do almost every day for a month. I'm not wired for social obligations of such frequency. 

So, instead, I stay in. I procrastinate. I not only don't do the things I'm supposed to do; I don't do other things I might actually want to do. There are distractions everywhere, and I am a past master at distraction. 

Which is to say, I think I'm done with my psychic hibernation and ready to get back in to the world. I hope you had a happy new year and a wonderful holiday season, but I'm ready to get back to The Rest of the Year if that's ok.

Holiday Horror

Our writing homework this week is to write a holiday-themed horror story. I've been struggling with this one for a week and was about to write a half-hearted piece about the abomination that is the Elf of the Shelf. In a weird little coincidence, teacher decided to write on the same subject this morning. Normally, I would be deterred, but in this case, I'll try to turn adversity into opportunity. Or, it could just be that I didn't care for the story I was working on in the first place.

So, as I prepare to write the completely-different story, I'd like to pass along this little tidbit: I really don't care for the holidays. I don't care for the food, I don't care for the forced travel, I don't care for the gifts (giving or getting), and I really, really, really don't like the obligatory everything. My time off is precious to me and having all manner of social requirements heaped on me wears me out. I enjoy seeing a few people, and even my family, but I don't get any joy out of an obligation being discharged. "Relief?" Yes. A lot of relief, but it isn't worth the stress that I get prior to it.

So, yeah, "bah humbug" to me. I get it. I don't begrudge anyone their holiday merriment. Just please be kind if my smile seems a bit forced and I excuse myself from the party early.