I’m finding this holiday season to be quite odd. On the one hand, many of us are able to travel, visit with friends and family, and celebrate the holidays in person rather than on Zoom. On the other hand, our nervous systems have been taxed beyond what we thought possible as we forge ahead.
I so appreciate the invitations I’ve received for in-person celebrations. And, yet, I just don’t feel up to it. I am less inclined to have small talk. I like to see people, but not much is new in terms of life changes, and I don’t have the wherewithal to listen even though I’m interested. So I sit out the parties. Parties I yearned to attend in my 20s and 30s. Parties I will forego in my 60s while we still cope with a pandemic.
When we ask, “how much more can we endure?”, we’re simply given more. Plodding ahead, a bit slower than before. Sometimes I can delight in a small moment. Such as walking with a friend or enjoying a chance meeting in Central Park. Other times I am enraged by what would seem an insignificant event.
Today my face burned as I attempted to walk around a family who abruptly stopped in the middle of the sidewalk to adjust something in their stroller. It wasn’t an emergency and they had plenty of room had they cared to walk a couple of steps moving closer to the curb. I have little patience for those who are not considerate of others. Simple kindnesses go a long way. I soften when someone is gentle or thoughtful. Later in the day a neighbor helped me with a package, and I could have cried from gratitude. Ambivalence and a general malaise have ruled these last months. It’s kind of like a throwback to my adolescence, or maybe even menopause. Two stages I would have preferred to leave in the past. Yet here I am, moody and grateful.
- Smile to a stranger. Know that they, too, are going through a lot
- Allow yourself to slow down. It’s easier to make room for your feelings, your process, or anything you’re experiencing when you slow down, take a breath, and say, “In this moment this is where I am.”
- Take a bath. If you can, find some bath soap paint that washes away. Create art on your body, in the tub, then wash it away. It’s fun and it will be a reminder of the impermanence of our situation.