Saturday, December 22, 2012

Holiday feelings

(note: it's starting out pretty bleak but turning into more of a good feeling thing in the end, promise.)

It's this time of year when you summarize your year and then look ahead and make promises and thoughts and wishes for the future. Wait, that's for "after Christmas". Right now it's about frantically running around and buying gifts for family and friends. Getting on trains/cars/planes and travelling to said families and exchanging the gifts and hugs and happy times. Back in home country it's snowing, people are getting stuck in traffic and others are losing power. Here in new country people are dressing up as if it is super-winter-cold but it's really like a regular spring day in Europe.

And I miss it so terribly this year. The snow, the preparations for the three days holiday (off 24, 25 & 26th of December), my old friends, my family, the special Christmas cookies - you name it, all the silly things that aren't here.

I don't know if it is because I am older or that I have stressed pretty much all through December and am yet to realise that Christmas is two days away (where I come from the 24th is the big day)? Or that this year I am not celebrating with my family and I miss them a lot but there is really nothing I can do about it now. (And I will see them in a few weeks actually so....) Or the thoughts that I wonder, yet again, if I can really continue to live this far away from all that, "for the rest of my life"? (Not that I have to make that decision right today either. Silly.)

Of course, I know somewhere in my angsty brain and aching heart that it wasn't all that wonderful when I was living back home. Nor that my friends who live close to their families are having all that 100% loving time either. Nor that they are not stressing around like chickens without heads, looking for "the perfect gifts" and feeling pressure of having it all together. It's not perfect world, it is just in my mind right now when I'm feeling a little stressed about not having sent pressies nor holiday cards in time for the holidays.

I got surprised about all these feelings this morning when I woke up since I've been pretty good at staving them off this year (not thinking about it might be more the proper term). Then I spoke to one of my best friends and she is having a hard time about going home to her family for the holidays. She has to, of course being the dutiful daughter, but when we talked I realised that it sort of doesn't matter if you are in the same country or on the other side of the Atlantic. Maybe it doesn't matter even if you're in the same city (as your family). The excellent guilt and "why don't you call/visit more often" is apparently always there. I guess it is my cultural heritage of "love through guilt"? And the "unspoken yet more often nowadays spoken expectations that you haven't fulfilled" .... to which I am aware that you should just accept it's not your responsibility. You live your life, they live theirs and it is neither fair nor reasonable to expect your children/family to fulfill you.

But right now it doesn't feel that way.

I have to admit, I feel better after putting these thoughts down. Maybe I will stop feeling like an utter failure after I cook some of the traditional Christmas food and clean the house. After all, "idle hands make devil play" or as I have come to view it "too much time to ponder and think makes loopy sad thoughts"

Time to make some Jansson's delight, beet salad and meatballs. God Jul!

It's amazing what some cooking can do for the atmosphere and feelings. Two types of herring done, beet salad, meat balls are cooking and I'm sipping some "glögg" (mulled wine) and looking forward to a few gingersnaps with blue cheese for after dinner. Phone conversation with family across the sea and happy laughs later, maybe this can all be fixable?! Happy Yuletide!

1 comment:

Nina said...

oh I hate it ... the guilt ... the anger ... the "I should have" and the "why don't they". And especially the commercials "buy buy buy".
The last years have been great because we're too far to visit and we just go hide in the bush for a week. But since we got back I have been unreasonably upset about the (small) amount of christmas cards I received. Gah