Sunday, December 22, 2019

Christmas Dysthymia

It’s Christmas. Sometimes I wish I were more of a “holiday person,” someone who takes delight in the rituals and traditions of the season and gets excited about decorations and gifts and parties and seasonal music. I don’t know if something broke in me long ago, or if I am just naturally like this, but holidays have always been fairly meaningless to me. I’ve never cooked or hosted a Thanksgiving dinner, I’ve never held a Christmas party, and I don’t bake anything. I don’t send out holiday cards to my volunteers at work, and I could barely muster the will to see that a single, shabby Christmas tree got put up in the lobby of the hospital this year. I hate the strained conversations about what you, me or anyone else is doing for the holidays, and then afterwards, the strained conversations about what you, me or anyone else did for the holidays. I don’t know why I have so much Christmas dysthymia. Christmas never did anything to me personally. It has just always evoked in me a vague  sense of melancholy and loneliness. This is all being magnified for me this year by the fact that this will be my first Christmas without my dad, and I won’t be able to give him a can of Almond Roca or a gift certificate to Cabela’s. He loved both of these things.

I think he would be proud of me about how far I’ve come with the weight training. My dad was a huge fan of dumbbell and body-weight exercises. The last time I went to my mom’s house, she gave me his set of dumbbells. They’re a little too heavy for me for most exercises right now, but I’m getting there. If he were still around, I would talk his ear off about my trainer and show him all of the moves I’ve learned. And I could tell him about my tribulations with getting my .22 revolver to shoot on target, and remind him that Almond Roca is the most revolting “food” on the planet, and watch in amazement as he ate 7,900 calories in one sitting without batting an eye or putting a single ounce onto his skinny frame. And he would grouse and complain and try to control the roiling chaos of our family gatherings and as usual, give up in defeat, citing that he had been outnumbered by women. Then he’d go and eat some more.

My biggest mistake was in thinking that I had more time. You never have more time. Even though I’m not a big fan of Christmas, it is a time of coming together with people who matter in your life. Make it count. Heal what you can, if you can. Appreciate them. And don’t fool yourself into thinking that you have forever. You don’t. This has been a public service announcement from The Good Typist. Now for a little something beautiful. It’s not a Christmas song, but it’s one of my favorites:

--Kristen McHenry

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