The magic finally happened for me this year.
I had just put the tacky Christmas goldfish ‘sunshine-Jello-salad’, into the fridge and was stirring together the tacky ambrosia, when I felt the first sparkly jolt.
Perhaps it was going through the motions of tradition that brought it about for me this year. On the eve before Christmas Eve, I found some magic. It started with a kind message from one of my oldest friends who helped me realize that I don’t have to constantly be strong for everyone else.
Just in time for Christmas Eve: my favourite part of Christmas.
To say that it’s been an anti-climactic lead-up to Christmas is an understatement. In fact it’s been a Christmas time to remember. Often these are the years that build character and help us empathize with others who struggle through the holidays.
One well-meaning soul typed a comment about having expectations too high at Christmas time. This Christmas has not been Christmasy, and it’s not because of any expectation, it’s because of loss. Expectation is an interesting concept, and one worthy of discussion.
We live in a hurried world where sadness and empathy take time none of us want to take. I believe that encourages platitudes about ‘no expectation’ and ‘not being attached to outcome’. Hogwash and pith my darlings.
It’s right up there with; having a stiff upper lip, not crying in front of the children, and keeping yourself busy. I’m a ‘loss’ professional, and I firmly believe in having to fall apart sometimes in order to pull your refined-by-trial soul back together. Sometimes things suck, and it’s ok to say so.
If you think that having rainbows and lollipops poof out of your arse all day long is normal, please send your unicorn to fetch me for your next seminar.
Certain expectations are healthy; to be treated fairly, to be compensated fairly for work, to be able to live freely without discrimination and most importantly, to feel validated when you feel every emotion, including the ugly ones like fear, anger and sadness that make most folks uncomfortable. These are healthy, and necessary expectations.
For anyone who has experienced loss, Christmas can be a really tough slog, regardless of expectation.
As we near the midnight hour, and our corner of the world slows down, I think I will take some time to stop and consider what expectations are helping me move forward or holding me back. Discerning between the two is where the magic happens, because as much as our human brains would like the world to be black and white, it isn’t.
Christmas magic appeared unexpectedly as I went through the motions of making the traditional food that goes on our Christmas table, and I am grateful. Happy even. I’m looking forward to tonight and tomorrow, and am thankful for having people to share the day with.
Wishing you joy this Christmas. Wishing you a soft landing if you are among those who have experienced loss at this time of year. Wishing you the wisdom to discern between healthy expectation, and hokey platitudes. If you’re having none of that, I’ll send over a dish of ambrosia for your narwhal.