I’m enjoying a quiet Christmas morning alone this year. Thanksgiving became my favorite holiday as I grew up. Some of this is undoubtedly because it was my Dad’s favorite day and he always made a big production celebrating it. When my ex-wife and I divorced we decided to split the holidays with the kids rather than alternate. I always have the kids during the week of Thanksgiving and she has them the week of Christmas. I enjoy that split. School schedules are different than when I was young. The kids are off the entire week for Thanksgiving. We spend the time visiting the sites and sights around town. We read, we watch our favorite movies. We play games, we make crafts. We cook, we eat, we laugh. We have carried on the tradition of decorating a Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving and we open gifts on the weekend. It’s a special week.
I’m naturally happy by myself. I need less social interaction than some people. I remember being 6 or 7 years old, hiding behind the bed with an old HP calculator from my mom’s desk. I could add numbers until I fell asleep on the floor. There was a peace that came over me in those moments. Comfort in the certainty that certain patterns always held no matter how many ways I tried to break them. I didn’t understand arithmetic let alone number theory. I still don’t. I may or may not have learned something useful. That wasn’t the point. The only thing that mattered was the joy of finding things out. Learning for the sake of learning, not for any other purpose.
That being said, I still find myself lonely on days like today. Our world is so connected that I am never really alone. My phone hasn’t gone 5 minutes without a notification from someone today. I miss my kids though. I’ll see pictures of their day later. I’ll FaceTime with several if not all of them. I miss my girlfriend. We’ve communicated in so many ways today. We sent electronic hearts through our connected “LoveLights”. We sent text messages with cute emojis, and we saw each other via FaceTime. Despite these wonderful inventions, there is no substitute for genuine face-to-face, hand-in-hand, human connection. I’ll see her tomorrow and my heart will grow a little warmer. I’ll see my kids next week and the dull roar of the house will slightly irritate me, but I’ll feel just a bit happier and more complete.
Merry Christmas to all of you that celebrate. Happy holidays to those of you that celebrate other holidays. Enjoy your time with yourself, with your family, with your friends. I wish you all a safe and healthy New Year. Take time for yourself and all the ones you love. Time is the only true commodity. It matters more than anything else you have. You can’t make it. You should take it. You better protect it. You need to share it. It’s not yours for long.