I had just gotten off the train and was walking home. I was listening to a podcast shocking about relationships shocking again when I walked past someone who I thought looked familiar. I did a double take because I wasn’t sure and low and behold, it was him. We hadn’t seen each other since everything fell apart but we had texted a little bit on New Year’s Eve. It’s amazing how put together my response was all things considered. He’s leaving the city in a couple weeks and we agreed we’d get lunch before. I walked right up to him and ducked so my face was in the same line of vision as his phone screen. He was surprised in a good way and it made me feel really good to see him smile.
We started walking together and he asked me how things were going and I realized I didn’t have much to report. My life looks a lot like it did when we were seeing each other regularly. How can I still be in the same place as I was a year ago? That can’t be true. Maybe on the outside things look the same same apartment, same job, same relationships status but on the inside, I think things are different. I hope things are different. Things have to be different. Of course things are different. Look closer.
I bailed on a tree-trimming party last night. A good friend of mine was hosting and I had told her earlier in the day that I’d drop by after work. But as the end of my day was approaching I realized I wasn’t up to attending a social gathering. It was cold. I’d spent all day freezing my ass off in that shop watching the winter squall go off and thinking how I can’t wait to move to a place where winter isn’t a thing. All I wanted to do was go home. So I bailed. I sent that text that we all know so well only this time I sent it without any guilt. I knew I did what was best for me and that my friend would understand. I chose myself first.
I haven’t been feeling the holiday spirit so much these days. I’m very aware that it’s that time of year but the magic just isn’t there. Is that what happens when we get older? Am I becoming disenchanted? Maybe a little. It happens in moments like when I’m handwriting holiday cards for other people’s gifts with the most impersonal, generic, dull messages. “Happy holidays. Thanks for all of your help this year.” There’s no heart and not much thought behind those words. They’re unremarkable. Yea, that kind of shit disenchants me.
When I got home I lit my pine-scented candle, poured myself a glass of wine, pulled out my guitar and played Christmas songs for myself. It was oddly perfect. My own little tree-trimming party. A small, unexpected, self-administered dose of holiday cheer.