Photo: Stefan Anderson
December is one of my favorite months; a bright, festive respite from the grey doldrums of November when my energy level and spirits flag. However, it’s also a month full of paradoxes. Holiday lights and burning candles artificially illuminate hours of intense darkness. We rush like mad to complete those final projects while simultaneously longing for a much-needed break. Although the year’s close signifies a noble ending, the desire for a fresh start is never far behind. December is billed as a sociable, cheerful time, but it can also amplify feelings of loneliness and melancholy. Finally, Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus, yet there’s little spirituality and lots of commercialism.
On top of these conflicting impressions, the fast-moving Omicron situation has colored what we hoped would be a less restrictive holiday season. Collectively, it feels like we’ve experienced a lifetime of stress over the past two years, and our weariness can obscure the strides we’ve made with the vaccines and our ability to treat the virus. Yet, even with these highs and lows, the days leading up to Christmas and the New Year still fill me with hope and anticipation. Even with the gloomy omicron news, I’m determined to keep my spirits up and will take extra layers of precaution (home antigen tests are my new best friends). Call me naive, but I’m still holding on to the belief that I’ll be able to gather with family and friends responsibly.
Creatively, my writing this month has come in fits and starts. It’s become clear I won’t reach my word count goal by Christmas, and after lots of guilt and self-reproach, I‘ve chosen to be kinder to myself and accept it. There were just too many distractions competing for my attention (it is the holiday season, after all). Nevertheless, I’m cautiously optimistic about what I’ve written so far and think there may be some potential, but who knows?!
After a hectic but incredibly fulfilling year, I need some time to decompress. I know that a short writing break and surrounding myself with people and experiences that spark joy will bring me peace and nurture new ideas. This may be the best present I can give myself this Christmas. I hope you will also treat yourself to a mindset that enables you to relax and enjoy the blessings of another December because despite the ongoing challenges, we've made it this far!
Wishing you and your loved ones a healthy, happy Holiday Season! Thank you so much for your support and for reading my work this year. See you in 2022!