It’s a sad truth that wisdom only comes with time, and, by extension…age.
The more experiences we collect in a lifetime, the more we learn to avoid the pitfalls that unfailingly pop up along the way.
It’s just how it is, young people. You may be wise beyond your years and college degrees…but until you’ve left the house with a pop tart stuck in your overzealous toaster…well, need I say more.
Yeah, probably…but I’ve also learned, over nearly 60 years, that saying more usually leads to trouble.
But those are just minor examples of the way wisdom sneaks into our lives over time. It just can’t be helped.
I’m sure you’ve all have had real experiences, no matter what your age, that have changed the way you see and spend your days. Even the way you experience this hectic holiday season that has taken on the now, all-encompassing, label of “Christmas”.
“Christmas”, for many who participate, has superseded the actual “Holi-Day” and become an entire season unto itself. Kind of a fifth season that has taken root right in the middle of fall, and doesn’t end until well after the official start of winter.
Of course there’s the shopping, the decorating and the partying…not to mention the merrymaking, which is very different from partying, because merrymaking is peculiar at any other time of year.
Yep…Christmas activities and customs abound, from family to family…from friend to friend.
But what I’ve discovered, through my own acquired wisdom, is that the older I’ve gotten the more mechanical and less magical it has all become…at least for me.
As if every year I pull out a list and methodically check off all the things I need to do in order to have a memorable holiday season, or at least a holiday season that matches my preconceived notion of memorable; one that, let’s face it, stems from feelings and traditions that go back to when I was two, because, curiously, I had very few holiday traditions when I was one.
Then, of course, the further I fall behind on that list, the larger the mountain of stress is that grows on my shoulders.
“When am I ever going to find time to annoy Santa at Rye Ridge…or even find where Santa is at Rye Ridge?”
“I’ve only seen ‘A Charlie Brown’ Christmas’ four times this year!”
“Where’s my Leg Lamp and George Baily Football Jersey?”
“Who stepped on my only copy of ‘Dominick the Donkey’?”
This manufactured, mechanical stress ultimately leads to distraction. The distraction leads to making a forbidden left turn off of North Main Street onto Adee …which leads to a summons and discovering you’ve forgotten your license…which leads to forgetting to order the food for the Christmas party, which turns out not to be a problem since you’ve also forgotten to invite the guests, even though you did remember to buy 6 cases of beer and wine, which leads to lots of Holiday Cheer, without the cheer, which leads to December 26th and you saying…
“I don’t know why, but it all goes so fast, and I just don’t enjoy Christmas the way I did before”.
Then, one day, the wisdom kicks in, right around the time you come to terms with the fact that the puffiness under your eyes and those creases around your mouth aren’t going away, after five years of gel treatments…and you say….
“Hey, maybe this year, I’ll just enjoy Christmas for whatever it is, and however it plays out…even if old Uncle Wilbur does bring another 22 year old girlfriend to dinner”.
Maybe, just maybe…if we put away the lists of expectations, lessen the anticipation and allow ourselves to follow the Holiday Spirit down whatever road it leads us, in any given year, be it happy…or as it happens, sometimes, sad…then we can’t help but truly experience the gift and the wisdom of Christmas, the way it was intended…for this year and every year to come.
Each is new …each is different…with nothing guaranteed and nothing to measure up to other than what you allow it to be.
Happy…sad…or somewhere in between…there’s always magic to be found in Christmas, but the magic begins with you.
That’s the Christmas Wisdom that’s come to me…slowly, quietly, evolving even still.
Enjoy the Christmas that is, while it is…and let the night be bright.
Certainly not easy to do…but definitely worth a try.
Looking for a fun, new Christmas Tradition to share with your family?
Pick up "The Little Red Christmas Ball"
Now available at Amazon
And don't forget