Last year I decided to embark on a new holiday tradition. If you are friends with me on Facebook or follow me on Instagram, you already know that this is Stratejoy's annual Holiday Council. In its own words, Stratejoy (pronounced as if the word 'strategy' ended in -joy) is "a positive corner of the internet – with real conversations about dreams, struggles, celebrations and transitions – that is both powerful and useful." It's based on the goal of "practicing joy in a messy world." The Holiday Council is a 3-week long program that makes New Year's Resolutions seem like the temporary and empty gesture that they are. It's a wonderful way to close out the year: releasing last year's slime, embracing the possibility of the year ahead.
During HoCo 2016 I believe I declared my word for the year either WONDER or REJUVENATE. I honestly can't remember. Last year was a time of serious transition in my personal and professional life (i.e., I got married and quit my decade-long career), and I struggled with setting intentions for the year ahead. That's probably part of the reason that I don't remember the word I chose. But the real reason I don't remember is because so much heavy shit* has happened this year. The Hubs spent January - May focusing on finishing his LL.M., and January - August on his post-active duty job search (which is far from standard). I dealt with my back injury from March - October, with the abscess in July, with the car accident injury in October & November, with thyroid issues for the entire year and with relatively minor afflictions (allergies to muscle relaxers and beta blockers + their nasty effects) here and there. There were also awful things that I can't mention, for legal or professional reasons. (Yes. Ugh.)
I mention all of this because, if you asked me to describe my year as it was vs. how I intended it to be, I'd laugh hysterically. In reality, my year was HEAVY. Even dark. I've felt exhausted and bombarded and burdened and spent. Without joy, without respite, without hope. Feeling as if this barrage of struggle would.not.end. Today I woke up and said, "No more! I am setting my intention for the year ahead, and it is LIGHT. That thing that is luminous in the face of darkness. That thing that is airy and spacious, not suffocating and small."
Today I'm addressing Christmas cards and thumbing through catalogs in search of gifts. I'm drinking coffee and reading my new favorite book, Vacationland by John Hodgman. I'm checking in with friends, and doing laundry in anticipation of hosting both company and a holiday party next week. I'm snuggling with my furry snuggle bear, and watching The Good Place. I'll probably take a nap. I may take a class about learning to draw. All of this = heaven.
But tonight is when the real light begins. Tonight is when the Hubs and I decorate for Christmas. We'll eat yummy Thanksgiving leftovers, drink spiked hot chocolate, put up the decorations we brought to this marriage separately, and put up the ones we purchased together. Then we'll watch Elf.
My new year starts now. I'm not waiting for January 1st. January is cold and dull and dreary. Christmastime is magic: literally luminous, and so spacious it feels okay to pray for Peace on Earth.
* Just a reminder that this blog uses curse words sparingly but without hesitation.