I saw a great article about the #joinin community, which is when people share their struggles on Twitter during Christmas. I was going to post my thoughts on Twitter with that hashtag, but I realized it would've been too long, and I didn't do one of those serial tweets because I doubt people would follow along. So here I am, about to post something that I've told some folks offline, but want to tell people about online as well.
For many years, and I mean more than a decade (though I'm not sure exactly how many years, but long enough to make 2018 a notable year, and hopefully a departure from what I've experienced before), the holidays were awful or barely tolerable. Not just one or two holidays, but various ones throughout the year, including a big birthday I celebrated that was nothing like I'd envisioned back when I witnessed others celebrate theirs exuberantly. There are many reasons why the holidays were not stellar or what I'd experienced earlier in my life, and if I know you offline, I'll tell you. I'm not sure I want to share all the details here because it might be too personal, and the Internet has a lot more creeps online than years ago when I started (which is going to be the topic of another post).
Holidays were strained or sad, or I had to work at jobs that barely acknowledged us, at companies that were too broke to even pay extra (though they liked rewarding their executives and laying people off in the process). Even if holidays were not lonely, I detached myself from them and barely tolerated attending gatherings or didn't do anything special at all. I assumed that was how it was going to be, thus I'd have to adjust to the situation.
But things started changing in late 2017. I noticed I had more opportunities to celebrate the holiday season, but I was still in my detached phase, assuming the spike was an aberration. But this year, not only did those events recur, but I was invited to others as well. So when the season began, I welcomed it and just enjoyed what I saw as a bounty of invites that flowed in. And it's not necessarily that I had the actual holidays free, because I've had to work all of them, including the days around them. My work situation is not like other people where we get paid holidays off or where the places are closed (though some places I work are closed), and working the holidays isn't actually a disappointment like it is for other people.
A lot of people would think this occurrence is no big deal because they already have built-in family obligations that are pleasant, and/or already know a lot of social people who are used to reaching out during the season. I have met several people who have never known an unpleasant or disappointing holiday or birthday because they have events to go to or a large enough family to absorb them. Or if they're not close to family, they have a web of friends who they see. So they're probably wondering why someone would celebrate a positive holiday season and note it online.
But having a more positive holiday experience is very meaningful, and it's also proof that just because you might be struggling around this time of year, every year, it doesn't mean it will last forever. Or if you've lost such positivity over the years, as I did, it doesn't mean it's gone forever. It might take years, as it did for me, or you might be lucky...you might experience a temporary setback that is remedied with a move or with other changes in your life that result in a more upward trend. Amazingly, even though we're between two years as I post this, my active season probably won't end until early February. And then I can truly look forward to more good things happening in 2019.
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