Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Real Auld Lang's Ayne

And I can't spell or understand why it's not Old Lang Sign.
It's New Years Eve. I'm going to be sleeping at the stroke of midnight but this night has become increasingly boring in the past few years. I think more about how long into 2009 I will write 2008 on stuff. I'm thinking by my birthday I'll get it..and that is in March, folks.

I'm getting more disillusioned by the holidays every year and NOT because I don't like to buy gifts or I'm just being a bastard. The greed and expectations become overwhelming. Adults ( well, me) stress over the perfect gift for someone that genuinely expects you/me to fill a part of them that is lacking with a trinket instead of looking inward to the real cause of their emptiness. And I watched, for 2 days, kids open gifts only to be completely overwhelmed and exhausted while they were passed more boxes. This kind of gift giving not only takes away from the spirituality that we express in the faded plastic nativity scene in our yards but doesn't give the giver or the receiver joy. Where is the joy?

My joy came this year by disappointing everyone. I donated money to charity in honor of my family members and printed certificates that listed where the money went and how it will be used 100%. I tailored the charity to the recipient based on how I know them. Animal lovers, cancer survivors, etc. I've have only heard back from one recipient and it was only in passing as he asked about whether I sent him a big Ghiridelli chocolate gift basket. No, I didn't send a damn luxury food basket but thanks for acknowledging that your gift helped saved 20 animals in a shelter. Yeah me.

I take that back. My best friend gets me and I'm continually amazed that we do not have to speak to get the message across. She gave me joy.

So, it appears that I'm expecting something too, right? I'm expecting acknowledgment for doing something different. For trying to bring contentment or meaning back to a spiritual holiday. Both for myself and for them. But there are endless possibilities to someone's definition of holidays so I can't be bold enough to say that anything I think is right. But this is just what I'm feeling more and more. What's really sad is that I begin to shut down just after Thanksgiving as I try to dam the pressure of what I should be doing verses doing what is motivated by my emotions. Sappy, isn't it?

By Oct, it's splattered all over TV about the spirit of the holidays...globally what I see is a market/media driven spirit of buying and desperation. Filling emotional voids with material junk. If I look close I will see great spirits and acts of unimaginable kindness, and these are small feats that have intention behind them not tokens bought out of obligation. Let me see and do more of these. Do little things for others, give to what is truly lacking in someone's life. Something deeper like actions. Nursing homes are a great place to start if you don't know what people need. It smacks you in the face when you walk in the door.

Whoever is reading this - if I never buy you anything, please do not be offended. I probably just want to be with you more than anything at special times. No gifts. I am inadequate with still so much to learn and apply in life; and can never predict what people around me really need but I can guarantee that it can't be bought. I can't end this without the disclaimer that my thoughts apply to me too - don't vie for the best material thing under the tree. Be a presence instead of more presents.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Old Lang Syne

There are a few songs that I really do love but can’t listen to. Conjuring up memories isn’t something that is too hard for me to do but when a poignant song phrase sticks that memory through your heart… I can’t believe that I’d be the only one that will turn down the volume till the moment passes. But isn’t that what makes a great song?

It happened again this morning. Hubby likes softer music than I do and bought a soft little Christmas CD, luckily I’m not tortured with Bruce Springsteen or Mariah Carey, but it’s a short list of mostly songs I haven’t heard. I just don’t want to hear the same songs by 451 different singers. But anyway...

One of hubby’s favorites is Dan Fogelberg’s Same Old Lang Syne - we’ve listened to it for years and almost know it by the first note. I try not to drift off into the past when I hear it but this morning I couldn’t help it – I went back to memories I hadn’t thought of in years. And it got me to thinking about ex’s. Another reason why I went there was that I recently reconnected with folks on Facebook from middle school and early high school – just old friends. We’re catching each other up so old memories are coming back easily.

Going back to ex’s though. Listening to the song he is trying to connect with her in some way – he mentions reaching beyond emptiness. There isn’t anything left of their relationship. But why does he care? The same reason I care about my ex’s – because they are still good people despite the situation. My situation with them is just a small portion of their lives and they go on to be whoever they’re going to be. Why do I feel compelled to find out who they become later? It just fascinates me and I don’t have much fear about contacting them if I happen to run across them; but I’ve been shot down by ones that could care less who I became. And that’s ok too.

I wonder if the honesty that they were having in this brief encounter would have saved the relationship had they done it in the past? Are they questioning this?

At the end the song he goes back to the real memory, being back at school, but he goes back to pain. I am surprised but hurt makes holes in your heart, some just stay tiny and hidden. Another example of never knowing the impression we make on a person. I have those holes and I know who they are but I believe they became better people than who they were when I left them.

I can’t drink a toast to innocence; I have too many regrets from it. But getting closure on those little pains by reconciling with past loves does feel good. Can’t say I’ve ever had a metaphor quite like a change in the weather though.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Accidental Neglect

I have never been a poster child for focus but lately I can’t seem to keep anything in my head. And with this new pregnancy sleep schedule, which feels like 14 hours a night, I’m neglecting the things that are important to me and that I used to do in the wee hours around midnight.

Some of these situations can be important:

I can’t seem to think of music that I want to listen to. Even with my iTunes list gleaming on my screen, it’s just too much to think about. I hear new artists that normally I would have no problems remembering for when I get to my computer – now I get to the computer and they are gone. Gone. And I hope the tune resurfaces at some other random time where I can’t write it down.

My calendar, which was sacred, is pretty screwed up now that I don’t know what day it is. Ever. Don’t ask me what’s going on during this holiday time of “you haveta go’ parties and some parties that I really want to go to – I’ve been relegated to setting timers and computer alert dings for my 74 bathroom breaks a day, checking my 4 email addresses that I can’t remember the password for and resetting them all for my next days events. Next, Thursday? Puleez.
I didn’t realize that I used to be pretty amazing at this, okay?

Sleeping is taking up just too much of my day. I literally get home from work at 6:30-7pm, eat some dinner, and about 8:30 seriously think about a shower and bed. I’m losing 4 hours a day! That’s a part time job worth of hours a week!! I’m getting a bit depressed that I’m neglecting some things and people that are dear to my heart and I can’t seem to get the energy to do it. A good example is our church pantry. Gary and I would be working be at Walmart market at, no joke, 11pm checking out full carts of groceries. I just feel like I’m not doing my job and it bothers me. I can’t accept that I’m unreliable on the big stuff.

Prayer happens throughout the day. Sleep comes on so fast and mornings are regimented to the minute so those times are clearly not going to work. As I see it, I pray for it. Gives me a pick me up as I go along.

And work. Oh my. I hope I complete a task now because I do NOT awake in the middle of the night worrying that I didn’t tell somebody important info or send a certain email. I’ve been mentally demoted and frequently stare off into space wondering what was I just getting ready to do. My boss just shakes his head. Like I said, I wasn’t very focused anyway and looked kinda flighty when I worked on something – now, I just look retarded. HAHAHAHA

Forget anything profound. I know it when I read it but that's it. I’m reading a book by the Dalai Lama and it’s taking me an eternity! I’m forcing myself to stay on a college graduate level but I may save it for later and read mindless fiction in the meantime. I hate to miss how I would interpret the book now but, luckily, conscientiousness doesn’t leave and I’ll have a viewpoint later too.

And there are so many more that…..I can’t think of right now! Surprise!

Exercise. fellowship, bra shopping ( like very week!), family, food, church activities, Christmas stuff, baby furniture and fun all have to fit in life somewhere - I have to use big grown up words like priority, time management and love to fix the disconnect. I’ll just keep smiling and be erratic. Pregnancy does let you get away with a lot!