There Are No Medals at Christmas

By Stacey Brensrud

I’ve been joking that since I’m getting old, I’m having feelings. The truth is, as we become more aware of our place in this Universe, we then see the world through a lens that magnifies the human condition. We are more the same than we are different, and we are all bound by common threads. Our physical health is the great equalizer—for without it, we have nothing. And none of us can turn back the hands of time. Not even Cher. I realize that joke is overused, but like Cher, it never gets old.

This is the time of year when we share our blessings with those who we perceive to be less fortunate. True charity is its own reward; when you do something nice for somebody else without telling another human soul, it is only then that you will experience this next level of love. If you just can’t stand it, tell the dog. Dogs are good listeners.

Tis the season of extra hustle and the bustle. One of the hottest trends this year is a slow-burning self- loathing for purchasing material things to show love, and the toxic glorification of being busy. Sorry, guys. I’m not buying it. Buck the trend. Give the chocolates, the locally roasted coffee, the bottle of wine. Do all of the gestures and share all of the things. Spread the love. Absolutely be busy with sharing, experiencing and living. Because this city is just small enough that you can get from A to B in no time, you can spackle every last second of every single day with another errand, visit or impromptu conversation about the origin of Panettone. Go skiing in the morning, hit up the bowling alley, go to all
of the parties. Heck, throw the parties yourself. Tomorrow is a new day! You can roll yourself out of bed, scrape the grilled cheese off the wall, empty the garbage, and then do it all over again. The secret to happiness is to find friends who don’t care if your house is clean.

My Top 5 moments of the holiday season so far:

5) Missing the turn-off to Bacon and Eggs and ending up at the Ripper Chair, just me and my kids. My husband is descended from a Scandinavian Explorer who went on Arctic and Antarctic expeditions. We even have a medal with his name engraved on the back. I keep checking the mail to see if my own medal has arrived. Not yet.

4)  Seeing a class of grade 1 children at the Christmas Production, each holding a flickering tea light and singing “Where Are You Christmas?” There is something magical about hearing the voices of little children sing about magic and wonderment, even under duress.

3) Sitting in a restaurant and seeing numerous seniors meet for lunch on the biggest Snowmageddon day of the year. It’s gonna take more than two feet of snow to cancel a girls’ lunch and I just love seeing that. Because I too am passionate about lunch.

2) Watching my 8-year-old son sit by the Christmas tree, playing his Great-grandfather’s recently refurbished acoustic guitar. Noted.

1) Seeing my husband sit on Santa’s lap at a Christmas Party, only to be told that he has pictures of sitting on that same Santa’s lap from over 30 years ago.

Christmas is the very best time of year if you are happy, and it can be the most difficult time of year if you are not. As we look forward to a new year and decade, give yourself credit for making it through 2019. Life can be challenging with things we can control and things we cannot. If you feel your life lacks excitement, remember that sometimes no news is good news in the pressure cooker that modern society has become. If you’re turning over a new leaf and embarking on a new adventure, go forward with intent and remember that loving yourself is a prerequisite to true success. If you’ve lost someone who has left a hole in your heart, remember that the depth of your grief is only mirrored but the depth
of this lost love. This is how we know that we are truly alive. If you think someone might be struggling, don’t wait for them to reach out to you. To those who are struggling, reach out for some support; your own request for help from others might actually be the Universe’s clever way of bringing some help to someone else.

I’m not sure how this turned into an advice column. But I see you. And I wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas.

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