The fire dances high and then low, just off to my right as I type this. The warm breath it casts relaxes tired bones, slowly dissolving muscle pain into the couch. It doesn’t seem possible to consider the time of year, but I have no choice. There are reminders everywhere, right down to the egg nog cartons in the supermarket. Predicably, my head is racing to organize the many actions, chores, and familiar random patterns that make the holiday season unique.
Until the scourge of Covid, I never had to think about breaking any of my traditions; the thought of doing so was unimaginable and borderline criminal. As we all have built over time the many customs which help define happiness during this month, to have them taken away suddenly struck deeply into the memory banks. The most recent of causalities was a trip to the North Pole with my little guy to ride the train, see the holiday lights, sing, dance a little, and watch him attempt to pull on a specific white beard. Once again, not going to happen this year.
Nor is my annual trip to VT to stay at one of my favorite quaint New England lodgings. One by one, many have seemed to have dropped off due to circumstance but not for any other reason. Though I shall miss many experiences which have come to represent happier days, the void will also be filled in other ways. Choosing to pivot and create, rather than frustrate and lament, came to me; there isn’t any reason why we cannot make new traditions.
We spend our entire lives adapting organically to situations that require our doing so, thinking nothing of it. Disruption owns a part of our everyday lives, and we still manage and move on accordingly. Failed expectations are a part of living, so we accept them for what they are. Why cannot we take a page out of the other 11 months playbook and react accordingly during this one?
This cat named Aric with an A will not allow unforeseen change to define his holiday season negatively. Sure, there are more disappointments ahead in terms of what I am used to doing in December. What I have learned through life experience is; future memories don’t give a hoot about timing. They happen both by random chance and specific planning. However, they only exist because, at one point, we took the initiative to try something new.
I decided a week ago to rock this Yule in ways not yet done by me. What this means, I have no earthly idea…yet. It will probably be a combination of things that shall redefine my season positively. Though I have always prided in knowing I help others during the holiday season, this year will continue in a different and more impactful way. Why not try to aid another segment of folks who might be having a tough go of things right about now?
While looking at Xmas lights, perhaps I shall deviate a bit toward a neighborhood not yet experienced and see what new magic it has to offer. Typically, I am a during-the-day holiday shopper; maybe I will live on the edge and wait until the sun goes down to experience the evening vibe at least once, or try buying a few gifts a week before Xmas. Just for the fun of it. This could be the year I find a cherished movie to watch, find a new place to display my tree, update my carol playlist, or see a show.
The music won’t change, but the playlist certainly can. It is a simple formula, but time to use it. Take that which is familiar and add a new twist to it. Do something entirely outside of your predictable comfort zone and plan on taking a holiday swerve. Just because. Pick up the phone and make a new plan with a friend. Just because. Take a drive to nowhere and allow the visuals to access your inner experience. Just because. Watch a new movie, listen to a new song, craft a new plan, decorate for charity, volunteer your time, or share your willingness to engage. Just because.
Put your best foot forward and pursue something new this year. It doesn’t matter after all, what exactly it is you do. What does is the knowledge in whatever you create differently from before; there could be a new tradition birthing in the shadows because of such action. It starts now, so put on some music and sing a holiday song outside of the shower for once.
As for the nog, it is not going to happen this year. Some things won’t ever change.