This week I was watching CBS this Morning and there was a segment on about why people feel bad around the Holidays. The gist was that everybody is posting how fabulous their lives are while the rest of us poor bastards are barely keeping our heads above water and it makes us feel bad. Gayle King added that when Charles Manson gets married and you are still single – that doesn’t exactly help!
I got to thinking…. which can be dangerous.
A couple of months ago I was at a benefit for a friend and the whole town was there. I ran into a guy whom I hadn’t seen in over twenty years. He said, “Who did you marry?” I said, “I am too mean to get married!” and we laughed. Later in the evening he came back to me and apologized for asking me that and said he just assumed a girl like me would be married. I said, “That’s ok, I have had LOTS of boyfriends!” and we clicked our Miller Lite beer cans and laughed again. This was actually a funny event because I have known that guy for a long, long time- he dated one of my friends for years- he is two years older than me and also never been married- and he has had LOTS of girlfriends. Birds of a feather. But there are times when I get what Gayle King was saying… Charles Manson has a frickin’ wife and I am alone? That leads to too much thinking. I have a friend of mine that says “Too thinky is bad and no thinky is bad.” There is truth in that statement.
This week I had two events change my disposition.
I saw a patient for an exam and we walked out to the Optical together where my staff and I spend a few minutes chit-chatting and saying goodbye. We were asking if she had any plans for the Holidays. She stopped and shook her head and said, “Tomorrow I am going in for a mastectomy.” We all stopped. She then went on to say that is was her second one and that worst of all she doesn’t do well with the anesthesia and that she would be tied down (yes, tied down) so that she could not pull the stuff out of her body when she woke up. At this point I sidled up to her and said, “You need a hug.” She let me hug her and I felt her hugging me back. We both held on tight for a few seconds. I said, “Tomorrow is going to suck. You just need to survive and get through it. We will think good thoughts for you.” She thanked us and said she was tough was planning on being around for a long time. As she was leaving she and her son said, “Merry Christmas!” Wowsa.
Yesterday I was in Best Buy and I needed some help. The nicest guy helped me figure out what TV I needed and all of the cables and stuff I would need to set it up. I forgot a surge protector so we went back to get one. As we were walking down the aisle he said to me, “Last night was the second worst night of my life.” And I said, “At work, or in your real life?” and he said “My real life.” As we walked though Best Buy and on to the checkout and on to my car where he loaded my TV I got the story.
He had a broken engagement a few years back. Heart break. He had finally started dating a new girl and things were going well… until last night. When he discovered her with the ex-boyfriend. He was so bummed. I am no stranger to heart-break. So, I gave him some advice. I told him he seemed like a great guy (true statement) and that girl was a fool. I told him to get out there and get a new girlfriend. I have another friend who has a great line. “The best way to get over an old boyfriend is to get under a new one.” I used her line on my Best Buy guy. We both laughed. I said, “If that girl calls and begs for forgiveness I hope you say NO!” He said he would. I said, “Promise?” and he said, “Promise!” After he loaded my gear, we shook hands and said good-bye. As he was walking away he said, “Hey, thanks for acting like my psychiatrist!” and I said, “Hey, thanks for selling me the best TV on the planet!” We both laughed. He went back into the store and I drove away.
The last few months have been crazy busy. I purchased a practice of my own, rented an apartment in my new town, kept my house in my old town, started working in the new practice plus I am still helping out at my old practice until they find my replacement. My house is a complete wreck and I am pooped out. There is no hope for me to have my house in any kind of Holiday Glory. It is a disaster. Do you feel better yet? I would take a picture but then you might send me in to be on Intervention: Hoarders…. it is that bad. I am going to have some people over on Christmas. I am just going to close the doors of 2 of the 3 bedrooms in this house and make the other rooms presentable. That is a good trick. You don’t have to get rid of your shit- you just have to hide it.
I was talking to a younger friend who is feeling the financial pinch of the Holidays. She has young children in her life who have high expectations of Christmas….which include presents. She is working her ass off to buy those gifts. Because she wants to…but still…. it is exhausting.
Those events have gotten me re-tuned for the Holidays.
None of my body parts are being removed, my heart is not going to be broken and my family doesn’t give a shit if my house is perfect. That is lovely. I feel some joy starting to percolate. If I feel lonely, I will just think of my friend surrounded by children screaming and yelling and running around like chickens with their heads cut off. Merry Christmas! I feel better already! Did I tell you that my new TV is for my bedroom with soft fluffy sheets? If I am lucky I might get a day or two to be a total sloth and not even have to shower and get to watch anything I want. Bliss.
It’s all the way you look at it. Could it be better? Yes. Could it be worse? Yes. Alrighty then, I’ll take it.