Sunday, October 15, 2006

I just saw my first Christmas ad....

Can you imagine? On October 15?


It is easy for me to watch this advertising and holiday pattern without getting too involved in all of it. Christmas has never been important to me so I am the dispassionate observer. My family of origin went from many to few when my parents decided to move across the country in the early 50s when I was only 5 or 6 years old. We didn't have the big family gatherings when I was growing up. Did I miss it? Hm. I don't think I knew enough to miss it. I was born with a "mai pen rai" attitude. What is, is. I don't spend a lot of energy, pondering what might have been. It has served me very well, by the way. :)

As the years went by with just the four of us, there was nothing particularly spectacular or memorable about Christmas. It was just another day. My parents weren't the type of people to invite friends to share in it. In many respects, it became utilitarian. My brother and I knew we would get whatever we needed for the next year and my mother would cook a dinner. Seriously, folks. This was not Norman Rockwell. Nor was it Hell House. It was just sort of - anticlimactic.

My ex-husband just wasn't "into it" so we didn't bother with tradition. Each year, our house would be open to the various stragglers and single folks without family who didn't have anywhere to go. We'd have the table filled with various types of food that people would bring or I would cook. To be honest, I enjoyed that far more than any TV-image Christmas. My ex and I knew interesting people; old hippies, eccentrics, spiritual folks, libertarians, socialists, and everything in between. It usually turned out to be a day of interesting discussion without any pressure to conform to external standards. We created what we chose to create.

I spent most of my "between marriage" years as a nomad, going from here to there, living in Colorado, Arizona, Maryland, New York, California and Washington. That kept me from getting too involved with or concerned about Christmas. When I was alone, I'd read all day, go for long walks or occupy myself while everyone else (it seemed) was gathered in family pods.

Now that I am living here in this shared unit, it is the first time I've felt uncomfortable with holidays. Ignoring them has always been okay with me. I see friends all year long. It doesn't bother me that they are unavailable one day a year while they are visiting with their birth families or husbands/wives/kids/grandkids. I feel no need or desire to intrude on that.

The owner of this house has a large family and they swarm around for a day or two. She has a hard time imagining that I am comfortable staying in my own part of the house and invariably tries to draw me in. There are two ways she might do this. She will either want me to come into her part of the house with all her relatives (which is sheer torture for a rather quiet-natured Thailand Gal) or she will bring me a plate filled with food that I do not eat, kind of like I'm the crazy woman in the attic who is "aallllloooonnnne". While I understand she is trying to be kind and accept it as such, it really does feel awkward. Most people can't accept that I am just fine. If I wasn't, I would do something about it.

So.. this year, I might do something about it, just to avoid this awkward time. Maybe I'll go to the beach and spend a few days in Santa Cruz. I love that part of the world. Maybe I'll go to Humboldt County and spend time wandering among the redwoods. When I was younger, I used to get in my car and start driving. I never knew quite where I might end up but it was always turned out well. There would be "adventures". There are a million options available and they don't all have to look the same. There are many reasons why one might be alone on a culturally-laden family holiday. There is certainly no reason to be lonely.

May all be free of loneliness ~

Thailand Gal



Redhead Gal said...

I have found that the less that I do at Christmas, the happier it is. I used to buy in to all that magazine stuff, which can't possibly be achieved. It was crazy making.

Maya's Granny said...

When I lived in California, I used to get in the car and just drive and see where it took me. Often to interesting places.