An Indulgence of Thought
Most Christmas Eve soliloquys dance through memories of lost loves along the rhythm of falling snow, likely with the writer cushioned on a comfortable couch beside a roaring fireplace. Mine is hardly that. I am happily enjoying a nice Christmas in a warm country that offers no promises of rain, and spending my day by the poolside is hardly unfortunate. Lost loves definitely still surface here, but the memory is hardly pressing, especially as I am currently very happily in love.
It is an odd phenomenon that holidays are expected to bring back hard feelings. In reality, it is all just a matter of choice. Perhaps we enjoy dwelling on past memories and find the practice more comfortable than enjoying the moment. This holiday season, although I am conditioned to reflect upon my past, I am reluctant to dwell on its misfortunes as I see the people around me struggling so much to make ends meet, to support their families, and to survive. Very few have the privilege of peacefully typing away at a MacBook after spending the evening with a wonderful family. I do recognize, however, with guilt, that I tend to reflect on past memories too often and too much although I am aware of my blessings. I wonder if this warrants an apology.
As I spent the day tanning by the poolside, I noticed how quickly I was flooded by “what ifs,” “buts,” and “maybes”. I now carry the Western tradition of waltzing with Scrooge, even as I take my moment to be grateful; there is incredible joy and debilitating sorrow in Christmas. What for? I’ve tried so hard, for so long, to avoid absorbing the negative culture of complaint, excessive desire and abundant consumerism; but the effort has been to no great avail. I realize now that there is no real way of avoiding the waltz, as I will dig into the past whether I want to or not. Maybe it’s worth the indulgence.
I used to think that I owed my visits to the past to my desire for reminiscence; however, I have come to the realization that, on a slightly significant level, I may enjoy reliving the pain. Perhaps we all do. In our crystallized, politically friendly, organized, sanitized, and neat lives, that may simply be a result of our need to feel something powerful on this day. Perhaps it makes us feel more human.
Achieving that sense of humanity, especially when you are not facing any serious adversities, is often dependent on a self-prescribed bombardment of thought. This is a necessary but dangerous activity. On some level, we all know that, but we indulge in it anyway with the conviction that a lack of deep reflection is even more dangerous. So, instead of spending some time in Christmas present, we call eagerly upon ghosts of Christmases past. It is such an odd, and very human, phenomenon. We search so fervently for all the knots to be neatly tied, so that we can organize our lives into a chain of events in a perfectly seamless choreography.
Letting go of that ideal is probably the most difficult step to take. When we have been taught, since childhood, that every story has a very specific and all-encompassing ending, how are we to accept that our lives cannot suddenly “make sense” one day?
Most of my readers probably can’t even accept that this particular post doesn’t have a specific point. We are obsessed with thesis statements and conclusions.
Today, I don’t have either. All I have is a series of disrupted and unorganized thoughts, and questions with no particular answers. I am happy and fulfilled, and I am also heartbroken. It doesn’t have to make sense.
What a revelation.