It’s Not Easy Being Green

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.

Yes, I am making an obscure reference to the meaningful use of a character’s wardrobe color in an 80s movie. Deal with it.

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…

Spud Webb: the exception that TOTALLY proves the rule.

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.


  1. ·

    I’ve hated Halloween since people started dressing up as serial killers and such. Give me a nice, clean monster or demon any day.

    Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, because we do a pitch-in feast, so it isn’t expensive or troublesome, just family togetherness.

    We unplugged the Christmas machine years ago. Presents for the kids, but the adults donate the money we would have spent on each other to Heifer International.

    I envy other people’s energy. I’m conceited enough to believe I could do anything anybody else can do if I weren’t bone lazy.

    If it’s any consolation to you, you’re one of the people I like to be more like.

  2. Kat French

    We do a pitch in for Thanksgiving, too. My designated dish is sweet potato casserole, although last year I brought pumpkin cranberry cookies that were such a big hit, I’m doing them again.

    We do presents for the kids, and draw names for an adult exchange. We used to do the round robin thing where you steal gifts until the last one is opened, but that’s, again, from a previous time. I miss that–it was fun.

    Ha! on the “energy” comment, and thank you very much for the compliment. It is indeed a good consolation. 🙂

  3. Chris Brogan

    I get horribly depressed from Thanksgiving until New Years. I don’t mean down in the dumps. I mean more thinking that the world would be better off without me. It has roots in a lot of past experiences where I wasn’t a very good kid around the holidays and so, as an adult, I get depressed.

    I know that envy you speak of. I get it sometimes, too. In my case, I get it when people are offered some neato project and I’m not. Not even in a business way. Just neato. Which is stupid, as I get to do lots of neat things.

    The only thing that pulls me out of either funk is helping others. Charity work. Just reaching out and helping people who need more than me. That kind of stuff.

    That’s my only advice. Not that you wanted advice, but I’m male and that’s what we do when someone vents. 🙂

  4. Kat French

    Chris, I was just talking yesterday with a friend about depression in general, and seasonal depression specifically. You’ve been wonderfully transparent about your relationship with depression, so I’m glad to know by other means that you’re doing what works for you to combat it. I know I need to get outdoors as much as possible, and Pete Meyers (@dr_pete) recommended a good desk lamp designed specifically to combat SAD, which I really need to just bite the bullet and buy.

    But yeah. It’s hard to explain the distinct feeling that you should quietly cease to exist for the benefit of society in general to someone who hasn’t experienced it. It helps for those of us who have experienced it to speak up, so the others don’t keep feeling alone in it.

    RE: opportunity envy, I know what you mean. Intellectually, I know that the reason I don’t get to do those other neat things is because I consciously chose the neat things I’m doing…and because you can only do so many things well… but the irrational child part of me wishes I could do EVERYTHING cool that passes my viewscreen.

    Thanks for the advice, solicited or not. 🙂


  5. ·

    I want to say so much but lack the vocabulary to add anything. So thank you for saying it all for me. Like Marian, you’re a person I wish I were more like. 🙂

  6. Kat French

    Marian – I checked out the site. I can’t spend too much time there just now, but thank you.

    Charles – Ah, dude. THANK YOU. I have all kinds of vocabulary, but for once I’m just going to have the sense to leave it at that. 🙂


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