Work is over for the year. On to the holidays – which make me very nervous. There is so much fake cheer advertised on TV, still, in between the bits of news about countries going under lockdowns and new virus strands that threaten our daily existence. There is a phrase that strikes me every year into quite a large amount of anxiety: the magic of the holidays. Tonight, anxiety ridden and weary after a year like no other (cliche, I know), I got to thinking. If I were to agree that there is such a thing, what would be my holiday magic?
This morning I walked my dogs alongside Brene Brown, Tim Ferris and Dex Shepherd whispering in my ear about sliding door moments. And I realized that my life is a summoning of such moments. The moment when I could have simply chosen to put my head down and be quiet and shy in high school but instead chose to edit a newspaper and dared to apply for a scholarship to the US. The moment when I said no even though it was really hard and I felt I had a lot to lose. The moment a renowned psychiatrist said yes to seeing me, a stranger, and prescribed medication that 13 years down the road is still working and has enabled me to change my life to what it is today. The moment when I told someone I don’t want to go to this interview at the place I work now (two decades later) because I don’t think I will get it and he picked up the phone and made my appointment for me. The moment I said yes to love and no to duty, offered myself a true life even while it meant creating a storm around me.
Tis’ the season of light and gratitude. And there is a slogan TVs sell which I actually like – they only push it on Easter but I think it works at all times: people are the light. For me, this magic of the holiday season is “recognising and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion.”
I choose to celebrate this holiday season by remembering the magic of every sliding door in my life. By recognising the power that exists in us – us as one, that is – and celebrating that by connecting even when it is hard and painful. The magic of the holidays could be a smile so large behind the mask that your eyes send it across the safety distance to someone else. It could be a text when someone pops in your mind (because we are inextricably connected, remember?), it can be an unexpected gift, an act of completely anonymous giving. The magic of the holidays is lighting up the most valuable connection there is – the one between each other. And so yes, I agree now, that the magic of the holidays is so very important to bask in, especially in the winter 2020. It might just mean survival.