I can honestly say I sort of changed this Christmas. 2017 was a rough year, and not just because it's an odd, pointy number (I'm greatly looking forward to delving into the smooth curves of 2018, but I'll get into that in another post). With the year ALMOST behind me (us), and my 30th birthday looming ahead, I granted myself an opportunity to take the 10 hour drive by myself to my next-door state and visit 40 of my family members and friends in one central location. The only kicker is that I have to endure the quintessential Capitalistic+religious love-baby that is Christmas.
Don't get me wrong-- for all the things I can't stand about Christmas- the strong implication that it is necessary to buy things people don't need to show that you care about them, the growing tension as the holiday approaches, the inability to get through a shopping line under 10 minutes, and the intolerable commercials, there are the wonderments of cinnamon candles, making cookies, seeing relatives, singing songs together, and the sparkle of a decorated tree emanating it's fragrance in the front room.
One thing that changed me was the words of encouragement from friends and family who read my blog. Although you (and Russia, apparently) are the only ones who read my blog, it showed that it's certainly not for nothin'. Although it does cause hesitation when the characters of my world that I'm depicting here are also my only readers. I appreciate you all for following along, and I have some exciting things planed for the coming year.
Because the greatest memories and revelations from my one week home came from vastly different sources, I can think of no better way to present them than....bullet points.
- The sweetest, smartest, most-gentle-man in the world (who happens to be my grandpa) told me not to worry too much about rising climate change, and increasing stupidity (my words) because we're going to get nuked. #affirmation
- As a side note-- I listened to the Nature Backchat podcast from November 2016, with world scientists coming to grips with Trump's election win and speculating what that might mean for science...and I felt okay-- like there are champions of science working to spread information and educate people. Then I went to Wal-Mart, and felt like maybe getting nuked wouldn't be so bad. Really though-- so many people seemed to be suffering, smoking, shuddering, stooping. If going to Wal-Mart is their greatest hope in life, maybe a bomb wouldn't be so bad. #judging #sympathizing
- My other amazing grandfather said "I hope to see you again" when he hugged me g'bye.
But there's NO WAY I won't see him again cause he's a peppy 93 years old and we've got lots of life to live together.
- Internal monologue while watching presents unwrapped, "So much packaging. Wait that's recyclable! (watches as it's thrown in trash). Dammit. People use these? Can't we just read books anymore? What's that? How does it work? Put your phone down!"
- Comparing my 5 humble Christmas celebrations to my boyfriend's one simple present opening.
- Reading my favorite Christmas story to my family with the help of my English-expert brother for some of O'Henry's harder words.
- Taking 5 trips to pack up all the wonderful gifts I received-- that I don't need, some I wanted, others, such as the fuzziest blanket I've ever had, will certainly come in handy, wondering how it's fair that I get so much love, warmth, food and presents while others get so little.
I guess the bottom line is that I'm sensitive. I'm sensitive to people wasting resources, and I'm sensitive to people who fill their bodies with cool whip and fast food and sneer at kale salads and doing squats and stretches in public. I can honestly say that I've been touched with the Christmas spirit this year. As I'm sitting in my gnome pajamas from my grandma, in a hotel my dad booked for me so I could take a rest from the road, eating a chocolate covered strawberry that my brother made himself I am literally surrounded by love and warmth. This Christmas was overwhelming if you count what I ate or spent or saw thrown away... but it reminded me of how blessed I am to have family and presents and live in a place without blizzards, or fires or hurricanes (currently). And I am motivated more than ever to spread the love and warm fuzzies.