The Holidays have always been a strange time of the year for me.
Some years they’ve made me happy and other’s they’ve made me sad. Every year, they cause me to reminisce about the past, both the bad times and the good. They make me want to be a better person. And they remind me that in a few short months, I’ll be another year older.
And getting another year older depresses the heck out of me, these days.
As I watch my boys, who were babies just yesterday and young men tomorrow, I realize that the immortality of my youth had faded away. Perhaps I am the last to realize this about myself, but I wish that I would have savored my youth just a little bit more. It’s not that I didn’t travel or do crazy things. It’s not that I didn’t have fun or that I have a lot of regrets.
I just didn’t appreciate it as much as I should have.
I didn’t bask in it every day. I was so busy getting somewhere in life and doing “something important” that I didn’t realize “Hey, I’m only 23,24, 25 etc.” or “I can eat whatever I want and not gain an ounce” or “Five hours sleep is more than enough!”
I was foolishly just living and not appreciating, not reveling.
I suppose I’m doing that now. Only it’s different. Only now, it’s not about me. Because I’m much older than 24, I can’t eat whatever I want, and I need at least six hours of sleep to even think about getting out of bed. Now I value my life through the lives of my children. And I’m watching them grow entirely too fast. Which means that I am also growing older, which I’m not ready for.
I want to grab the robes of Father Time and bring him to a screeching halt so that we can slow things down just a little bit. I’m not ready for my boys to be young men, and I’m not ready to be old, yet. After all, there is still so much that I want to do. Still so much that I need to do.
So I find myself reveling, now before it’s too late. I do it in the every day. I do it in the small moments, in the things that I used to walk right by. I find that I am more selfish in my priorities because I know that the time that I have is limited, and I know that my children won’t always be as in love with me as they are now.
I wish that I could slow things down and make life go just a little slower. But since I can’t, I’ll have to settle for squeezing every bit of joy that I can from the time that I have with the ones that I love. I’ll have to settle for trying to be patient, forgiving, and loving. And I’ll have to settle for seeing the small moments, the little miracles, hearing the tiny whispers, and appreciating every single bit of happiness. I’ll have to recognize my weaknesses and accept my failures, and move on because that is the best I can do.
At the age of 19, my incredible niece is a cancer survivor. I believe her life is special and that there is so much waiting for her. She has stared into the darkness and come out alive. I imagine that she is destined for something amazing and beautiful.
We can let life just fly by or we can embrace each moment. The Holidays remind me of that because they are a constant. They have always been the barometer I used to measure how much value my life had.
But now, they are the barometer I use to measure how much I value my life.
My husband has instilled in me a love of Charles Dickens, “Christmas Carol.” We watch it dozens of times over the holidays because it often hits close to home. It reminds us that we only have one chance at this life and that it is ours to cherish or to lose.
“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”
― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol