The Holidays are close. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, then New Year’s Eve and Day. I will be on the road. I do not know exactly where I will be. In all likelihood somewhere in Texas. The Universe willing, someplace warm and dry. I had hoped to be with my Dad, but I have way too much ground to cover and way too many cool things to see on the way. He knows. He understands. He lived on the road full-time for five years. He gets this journey.
I am working hard not to freak out about the Holidays. I do not want to get caught up in expectations, agendas, societal pressures of what I SHOULD be doing or where I SHOULD be and with WHOM during this time. That would only make me sad and depressed. I am pretty sure I will be at a camp someplace. Alone? Well, probably there will be somebody around. But, I do not know who or what they will be about. I have not planned that far.
Here is the thing… the thing I am working on and I encourage you to work on, too, if you fall anywhere near this situation during this time of year. The thing is that I have spent the last eight months spending time with loved ones. Lots and lots of loved ones! Friends, family, those who are both. Folks I have not seen in years, or weeks, or even decades. I have devoted my life to nurturing these important connections and I am very, very glad I have. I feel like I accomplished a lot in this area. I saw nearly everyone I wanted to see, and at least made contact with those I missed. I spent a few minutes or a few days or a few weeks with these folks. With YOU, if you are reading this. I was very intentional in my first year of travel as you’all, these folks, were/are my priority.
I have done a really good job, if you ask me, meeting this goal. Now comes Christmas. The time for family and presents and songs and gatherings. The time we put a very high value on our time. We choose where we spend time and with whom we spend it. OK, stop right there. That is what I have been doing! I did not do it in a day. I have done this over months. I did not do it by card, I did (or will do) it in person. I made the time for my loved ones, and they made time for me. I feel pretty good about that. No, we will not be together on this one day of the year. But, I just had several days, many hours in fact, with these folks. I got time with them I would never have if I focused on just the ONE day.
Admittedly, I do miss some of the rituals. I miss the baking and special foods, like egg nog and peppermint ice cream. I miss the snow and my fireplace. I miss the smell of the evergreens and getting the cards in the mail. I do miss all of that. But, and this is huge, I got to see all these folks! The people on my Christmas card list have seen me in person, and I them. We talked and we spent time. We do not have to send a letter as I am up to date. I know what is happening in their lives as I was there to see it, share it, witness who they are and what they are about. No card or letter can ever give me that. Not ever.
So, while the pull of the carols and dinners and rituals is still there for me, I am smiling inside and my heart is full this Holiday season knowing that I made it real. I showed up in a way I have never been able to do before. I got that time I had been missing.
The other part is I generally spent the Holiday’s by myself. I stopped traveling during this time years ago as it was literally the most stressful time of the year. Nobody ever came to see me, poke poke, so I would have to be the one to go. I did that until that got to be too much time and too much money and just too stressful. Instead, I would choose to work those last few days nobody else wanted. I would house or pet sit for friends who were leaving town. I stayed behind on purpose and that was OK. Some holidays I would spend with friends or family, some I just stayed with myself and my movies and my fireplace and my snow shoveling. It just depended on what I was in the mood for. Being alone during the Holidays is not new for me; not new at all. Being on the road, well, that is new. Not having a house, that is new, too. No snow? Also new.
My emotions are still a little all over the closer Christmas and New Year’s come. I am already sick of the songs and the sales; not new. I do enjoy the decorations and the lights and some of the food and drinks. I will work hard to stay in that place of gratitude and joy for the time I did get with my loved ones. I got way more than one day. I got way more than one celebration and more than one moment in time. I got that time I craved, needed, longed for. I got that time I never had.
Perhaps I will not be alone at Christmas. Perhaps I will have phone calls or Skype with loved ones or even camp neighbors to hang out with. Perhaps this will just be a different sort of Holiday. Different in a very unique and special and happy way. Different and yet fulfilling, too.
Cheers this Holiday Season. May you be with who you love, doing what you love, in the place and manner that sets your soul on fire.
Peace and blessings all around!