Thursday, December 27, 2012

Holiday Wrap Up! And, a Question for the Ages

My Jaquie Lawson Advent Calendar
As of this afternoon, I'm wondering if I should celebrate Epiphany. Not because I'm deeply religious or anything. Mostly because it doesn't happen until January 6th, so I could drag Christmas out a wee bit longer. This turned out to be such a wonderful holiday, I'm sad that it's already over.

We celebrated Christmas in the City. Not much of a city - Salt Lake City. But, it's better than nothing. I'm a bit of a country hick with a huge hankering for the civilized things that cities have to offer. Such as sidewalks, twinkly lights, neat little houses, in sweet little rows, all along the boulevard.

That is precisely the type of neighborhood where my daughter lives. So, she took on the happy task of entertaining this year. What a wonderful time we had. Sleeping in, cooking all day, opening gifts that make you giggle. It was just a marvelous magical time.

But, it didn't start out that way. And, I've been thinking about this ever since I arrived back home.

About how age can be a blessing. 
Or, a bane.
However you choose to deal with it...

My favorite holiday movie
We celebrated Christmas Eve doing the same thing we've done every year for as long as I can remember. And every year the same grumpy old curmudgeons do their absolute best to rain on our holiday parade.

It becomes more apparent every year. Half happy/half hopeless, there's no better way to describe that dividing line in our extended family...
There's the "I expect you to buy me a gift every year though I will never ever thank you for your thoughtfulness" Mr. Baseball Obsessed Bad Dad. He reciprocates by handing me a crappy bootlegged cd wrapped in newspaper.
I don't much care that he never buys me anything.

When you get older, if you have lived a good life... your wants are few and far between. I take much more joy in giving, than receiving, the perfect gift.

However! It would not kill that ungrateful pig to say thank you! Those two incredibly powerful little words ~ that, after awhile ~ can make, or break, a friendship.
Also in attendance are the two neighbor guys who lived on the same block, just down the street, and got kicked out of their homes, by weary wives, the same year. (You go girls!) That was so long ago I'll bet neither one of those guys could tell you, for sure, what year that was.
But, I can! I know precisely how many years I have had to listen to them complain about how men are perfectly well-balanced but divorced women have lots of emotional baggage. (Argh...)

[Mormon] Temple Square in Salt Lake City
I could go on and I probably should. Such a great pile o' dirt. Bachelor #3 showed up with a male date this year... And, since we're all originally from the super polite state of Minnesota none of us had the nerve to ask the burning question of... You're gay? When did that happen? :))

But haven't I gone on far too long already? 
Why, yes, indeedy, I have.

Back to my super fabulous Christmas... In sharp contrast to that crowd of Christmas Eve curmudgeons, my daughter is a newlywed ~ young, happy, devoid of baggage and I'm kind of thinking that's what made this such a marvelous Christmas Day.

Youth. That incredibly critical ingredient to a happy life ~ particularly, as we grow older. To be surrounded by youth. Vitality. Exuberance. Hope and future plans. Instead of divorce, upside down mortgages, and the ruts. Those proverbial ruts in which we lie down & give up, once the inertia of old age grabs hold of our tired bones.

Young people are happy, and happiness is infectious, so a little bit of their charm will, inevitably rub off onto you. At least, that's how I feel though I am beginning to wonder if I'm weird in that respect and if perhaps there is something wrong with me.

So where am I going with all of this? Well, I guess this is a long, convoluted way to ask one very simple burning question:

Have you ever been at a social gathering, with people you've known for your whole life and suddenly it's as if you don't know them at all? 

Because that's what happened to me this Christmas Eve. It's like I'm a ghost, on the outside looking in. Those people haven't changed so apparently I have. Doubtful that's for the better. But there's no denying that it's happened. So, now I'm wondering... where do I go from here?


Marguerite said...

The answer to the question is absolutely. How to deal with it though is your choice. Ever since meeting my spouse I have happily given up on family Christmas gatherings. We keep it quiet with the two of us and without the drama that seems to go along with those gatherings - bitter old curmudgeons included. So much of happiness is choosing to be happy and surrounding yourself with those of the same mindset.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Wise advice, Marguerite. It is probably time for us to make some healthier moves toward brand new traditions.

Susan INPH said...

I'm still what is considered young, but I've had feelings like this. I always presumed that I never have really known anyone so whenever I see them, it's always like meeting them and getting to know them all over again. I've been married for 13 years now and still feel like I'm getting to know my husband.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

That's a great attitude, Susan. And, people do continue to change. At least I hope they do. Life would be awfully dull if they didn't! :))

Rilly said...

I've always been a happy person, I wake up with a smile on my face and go to bed the same way and have little tolerance for those who are miserable to be around. About 30 yrs. ago my husband and I "cleaned out our address book", quietly distancing ourselves from friends and family who never had anything nice to say and were tiresome to be around. The funny thing is, no one complained or asked "why?". Maybe they had little tolerance for us but not the guts to do something about it. You just have to do what's right for you. Happy New Year!

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

I've always been a super happy person, too, Rilly. Maybe that's the problem! :)) Maybe people would prefer if I was a grumpy gus. Ha- ha. I have quietly started to do the same thing that you and your husband did. With a few folks whose bossy negative ways just became too tiresome. And, I will say it's been a good move though I harbor some guilt over it..

black bear cabin said...

i agree with is too short to spend it with cranky old farts :) Especially on special days like Christmas Eve!
Sounds like its time to "already have plans" next year, and make your own new traditions...think how fun and adventurous that would be! hugs!

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Life IS too short, that's for certain sure, Black Bear Cabin.

You gals are making me feel better! Soul sistahs, each and every one of you.

Thanks for the wonderful words of advice and Happy New Year! :))

Lona said...

Some people seem to drain the life right out of you. It does not take long in being around them to know who they are.LOL! I have no time for them bringing me down with them and have learned o just stay clear of them. Have a wonderful New Year ahead Kate.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

They really do, Lona. You've got the right idea and I shall blissfully follow your lead.... :D

Melospiza said...

That sounds like a wonderful holiday, extended relatives not included.

And to answer your question, I've finally learned to remind myself before any holiday gathering that holidays, especially Christmas, bring out the worst in people. Even me :). I get so tetchy.