The Ghosts of Christmas Past, and the Gift of Reinvention
In the weeks leading up to the holidays, I’ve spent a lot of time deep in thought, and working out the kinks on plans I have made as a result of a year’s worth of seemingly unnecessary struggle, spinning my wheels in a hundred different directions, learning and unlearning and re-learning, and – finally – a single decision that made a whole lot of sense.
In years gone by, the holiday season was always such a frenzy… decorating the house and the tree, baking dozens of cookies and other treats, visiting with friends, colleagues and clients, shopping and wrapping gifts, preparing enormous meals for as many as we could pack around the table. It was always so busy that I don’t even remember having time to stop and reflect on anything, let alone what the Christmas season really means to me. The days always flew by in a blur.
Despite the busyness that the holidays always brought, my memories of Christmas past are mostly happy ones, with a few notable exceptions (including that awful 2005 Christmas, when we spent my mom’s last remaining days in her hospital room, watching the snow fall gently outside the window – those were tough days, but I am glad I was there with her). Christmas has been different since – as of course it must be, once one loses their mom.
This year, the holidays are very different for me in every aspect. No decorations, no lights, not even a tree. No baking. No material gifts – the gifts instead are the joy of togetherness, mindfulness, and helping others in need.
This year, my approach to the holidays is calm and quiet – visiting with family near and far, sharing moments and laughter instead of objects, and preparing to embark on an exciting adventure of which I never thought I could be lucky enough to be a part. I’ve discovered this year that the very best gift I can receive is understanding, and the very best gift I can give is kindness. So far, it has been the happiest of holidays (despite the REALLY long delays at YVR!)
The time spent in quiet reflection over the past few months has been an evolution of deeply felt gratitude for my family, and for my friends. I keenly understand that I’m not the only one who has undergone a reinvention and established a whole new set of goals based on giving back, doing meaningful work, and finding tiny inspirations in unusual places. I wish everyone a very happy holidays – whatever holiday you choose to celebrate (in my family we choose to celebrate Christmas). I wish everyone a quiet moment during the holidays to reflect on what is important to you, and most of all, I wish you tremendous joy for the coming year.