I apologize in advance for this egregiously self-indulgent post.
This is not my favorite time of year. It used to be. I loved Halloween. My birthday’s in November. I loved Thanksgiving. I loved Christmas. In addition to the spiritual aspect of Thanksgiving and Advent, I had really excellent family memories of getting together for awesome meals with my extended family. Also, I adore fall weather. So fall/early winter was just one big festival of awesome when I was younger.
But then I grew up, moved away, a lot of really crappy stuff happened. Now I associate this time of year with pain, grief and loss. And it’s doubled loss, because I lost “being a happy holiday geek” along with all the other stuff. Now I’m stuck being the person who makes other people feel bad about enjoying the holidays. And nobody wants to be that person.
Being the holiday buzzkill is a character defect sucky enough to have culturally-significant literature devoted to it (I’m looking at you, Charles Dickens and you too, Dr. Seuss).
It’s worse this year because in addition to the whole holiday buzzkill thing, I am also experiencing a rabid case of envy. Which demolishes anything resembling gratitude or thankfulness.
The envy is about my personality type, and being an HSP, and just being fundamentally a poor fit for this culture and it’s definition and demands of success. I have all these professional friends who are extroverts, or Type 3s, or just not borked from a sensory perspective. I am friends or at least acquainted with a lot of people who are WILDLY successful in social media. I see them with their book deals and their travel schedule, and their hoards of admiring fanboys and fangirls, and I’m conflicted.
I mean, I’m happy for them. Say what you will, they have work ethic like crazy, and I’m glad the work has gotten them to the goals they set out. And deep down, I know that if I had to deal with air travel and crowded conferences to the extent they do, or even just replying to the 27,000 @reply messages they get on Twitter, I would swiftly be ready to throw myself off the nearest tall building.
I don’t want what they have. (Well, okay. I do want a publishing deal. Just not the input-overload lifestyle that seems to accompany it.) But I resent the hell out of the fact that if I did want it, I’m probably not psychologically equipped for it, and probably never will be. I have limits imposed by the marketplace and my own physiological traits, and that sort of sucks.
It’s like discovering you have an amazing gift for basketball, but unfortunately, since you’re 5’4″ you’re never gonna make the NBA. Unless they decide to start an SNBA for shorter people. Which, given the current strike, I guess is actually possible right now. Like A League of their Own but instead of baseball and women, it’d be basketball and people under 6′ tall…
But, I digress. You get my point?
So, back to my “I’m in a horrible funk” intro to this post, I think I need to back up a little and tackle one holiday at a time. I had a really good Halloween, actually. Mainly because I didn’t bite off more than I could chew, and tried to remain anchored in the present. The key to both enjoying Thanksgiving and getting over my current envy sickness is gratitude.
I guess I know what I’m going to be working on for the next few weeks. How about you? Are you a Scrooge or a happy holiday geek? Do you envy friends who have traits you lack? How does envy make gratitude difficult? Hollah at me in the comments with your thoughts.