I wasn’t sure what to write or where to go this week. I have a lot of thoughts on the turning over to the New Year for next week but when thinking of Christmas I was getting bogged down. Please don’t get me wrong I know 2020 has been a shit, fuck year for most people and the new lockdown right before Christmas was the Star on the proverbial 2020 tree for many. So I propose there is no more perfect year than 2020 to celebrate Festivus, if you haven’t had the pleasure of watching the classic Seinfeld episode please watch the video below for a short glimpse –
We will start and focus on the Airing of Grievances as 2020 deserves them. As Mr. Costanza says – “I’ve got a lot a problems with you people, now you’re going to hear about them’.
The Airing of Grievances can be really nerve racking for some people. Some innately see a Grievance as a complaint or something that has to be negative. I advocate that it is healthy and necessary to be able to verbalize what upsets you or frustrates you. Getting things off your chest is a release. Taking the time to really flush out what is bothering you can lead to three things, 1 – the realization that it wasn’t that big a deal, 2 – a different choice, a boundary or something else could prevent it from happening again, or 3 – it is what it is and you just need to deal with it.
I’m generally a positive, optimistic person – it’s just how I roll. I do like to bitch though. Life is not perfect or ideal, working from home has had many positives and a fair share of frustrations. Having to wake up by 4:30 every morning in order to have guaranteed, uninterrupted work time hasn’t been easy. Homeschooling this spring was garbage/not existent, my kids have no interest in learning from me – it just caused stress and anguish. Having to learn new processes for work and read even more emails, or updates is hella time consuming. Never feeling truly off or unavailable now that I can log in any time, exacerbated by my work line being forwarded to my home phone. Having the bad habit of thinking I’ll just check one email and ending up working for 3 + hours.
But I have a job, I can work from home. My kids and those closest to us have been healthy. 2020 has forced me to evaluate my boundaries and made it necessary to communicate them more clearly with everyone in my life.
My second set of grievances would be for the general public – those that can’t wrap their head around why racism is not ok. Those that were cool if Trump had won, because it might be good for Alberta Oil. The ones that refuse to understand how masks work, or do but don’t care because they care more for themselves than others. Those that wanted to be able to go shopping when it was convenient for them but will happily judge the individuals that lined up on Boxing Day because they couldn’t have their ideal Christmas. Hypocrisy is not a good look.
I missed my loved ones, my extended family, the aunts, uncles, and cousins to my kids. The parties and get togethers that sometimes are our only chances to mingle with people in our worlds that we don’t often see. I missed everything about our ‘Normal’ Christmas but I am not about to let that ruin mine this year.
Could we have made different choices earlier this year to ensure we could get together for Christmas? Yes. Did we, no. Is it just as important to ensure our Health Care system doesn’t get overloaded now as it was in April, yes. Are people struggling and tired of the up, down, all around – for sure! Do you really think there is someone out there enjoying this? Really ?!?
I’m choosing to focus on the small joys for the Holidays, like when my mom said to me how chill and relaxed this holiday was because there was no pressure of a big group or get together. The relaxed atmosphere of not rushing from house to house, trying to ensure that you show up so everyone feels like you care about them.
Christmas to me has always been about giving. Being a generous as possible whether that is gifts, time, thoughts, or care. 2020 was the year where we could have all been a bit more generous – and not in any monetary way but in spirit.
In spirit of the Festivus meal, I hope you were able to enjoy something delicious this week. Whether it was a turkey or ham, Chinese take out or pizza. We had the traditional meals of perogies on Christmas Eve and Turkey on the 25th. Over the next week/month my goal will be to support more local restaurants – ordering take out (trying to avoid the 3rd party services) and including a tip. I challenge you to take the opportunity to try something new. Connect with friends in the industry and try to support where they work specifically. We have made a point of ordering every other week (for a while, every week) from a downtown noodle house, it’s almost embarrassing when the Hostess recognizes my voice to the point where she knows my order. Almost embarrassing but more heart warming than anything. Make those connections, I promise your life will be fuller because of them.
My local Sobeys had tons of prepared food bank provision bags available in different denominations from $8-15, yours might too. If you haven’t been able to have a meal, my hope is that you reach out. Pride is not something that will feed you. Asking for help is a sign of strength not weakness.
Feats of Strength – can we all agree that just surviving this year is a major feat of strength.
If you had hard moments this year. If you had doubts on life, on your connections, on your worth but you are still here, that is a feat of strength. You may have had to invent your resilience, you may be faking it but in that you are making it.
For me my relationship is in a good spot, we struggled a lot at the beginning of this year. We postponed our wedding, trying to figure out our roles within the pandemic was hard but we reached out to get counselling and have committed to communicating. We are stronger because of it.
Our family has survived – spending every waking moment together in our home or close to. We had a great summer, and are lucky to live so close to incredible outdoor escapes. We have made the most of our time together, slowing down. Our evening which would normally be packed with activities for the kids instead focused on dinner together and doing something as a family.
Thankfully I got back into my fitness routine prior to the new lockdown and I have committed to 50 days of Movement (currently on Day 9).
So tonight I’ll be raising a glass to everyone. Come air your grievances, share your feats of strength with me and tell me all about your holidays. Next week will be focused on a new year and a shift in focus on the value of gratitude or FOMO.