Friday, December 28, 2012

it's a balancing act


christmas. it's a balancing act, isn't it? meeting (or not) the expectations all around - for gifts, for visits, lengths of visits, the quality of the wine, the food, even the procedure around how the gifts are opened. what's strange is that we have all these expectations without really knowing or articulating them beforehand, yet we definitely know when they are disappointed.

we went to møn for christmas, to a house we've visited many times over the years. it's where i first experienced the danish way of entertaining - hours of good food, glasses of quality wine, some more food, a bit of snaps, maybe a game of cards, certainly a lot of laughter. so i think i was expecting that. instead, there was frozen bread, mackerel in tins, boxed wine, television on while the presents were opened, chain-smoking hosts in ill health and repeated, munchausen-tinged stories. a bit of a disappointment, really even if i didn't know what i had expected.

it left me feeling a bit sorrowful...for the passage of time, for how life moves on when special people are gone and it doesn't necessarily move on for the better. for how many utterly ordinary people there are out there in comparison to the numbers of special, unique people. and how they produce ordinary children themselves and how ordinariness is thus carried on and on. and people seemingly do not notice.

sorrowful to see someone going downhill after a hard-lived life of too much drink and too many cigarettes. and how it affects the health and the brain. stories repeated and exaggerated and inappropriate. a woven tapestry of truth, lies, imaginings and memories tinged with self-delusion and regret, peppered with a feeling of bitterness over growing irrelevance.

sorrowful (and a little bit relieved) that it was likely a first and last christmas ever for that particular constellation of people.

life is short. we have to choose things that give us joy and happiness rather than sorrow and disappointment. it pays to be happy. and you can choose it for yourself.

2 comments:

Kimberly said...

Amazing how your first paragraph stirred me up even before I had a chance to reflect on the body of your post.
My Christmas experience was nothing like what you described here, Quite the contrary with day after day of socializing with family friends and even a meeting of a blog friend. I came home quite exhausted and wrung out by my travels and must be feeling a post holiday letdown that I haven't been able to totally shake even with some time in the studio. I think it was the word balance and expectations that resonated with me ( I do hope that word isn't on your list, ha!)

Sometimes our super fun filled retirement lifestyle gets to me as I have a nonstop husband and it's left to me to put on the brakes socially.

So here I am trying to tune back into what I really need for solitude, creative time and even my food needs since it was a solid week of visitors and visiting.

I always appreciate your thoughtful observations, and your experiences and the way you express them, Julie and I hope you get to go on your gin run.
If this seems a bit disjointed it's because i got interrupted mid-post but it was my husband that realized he needed to discuss plans with me before making them so for that I'm grateful today!
Happy New Year to you!

Bill said...

Nice photo.