Christmas Eve. I never really know how to feel on this day anymore. The whole Christmas season is filled with an intense over-the-top happiness that is shoved in your face with all of the shopping, advertisements, music, and themed atmosphere. It's socially understood that we're supposed to be extra happy this time of year. I've never liked being forced to do anything, let alone forced to feel a certain way. It all makes me feel isolated and confused. I don't feel happy, but I should, and I'm not really sad for any particular reason.
I usually take this time to reassess how I progressed throughout the year and decide which direction to steer myself in as we head into the new year. It usually encompasses what you might imagine to be resolutions: eat better, exercise more, be more kind, etc. While all of these things are definitely on my list for 2017, I can't help but feel like they're not enough. This year, I have had this looming sense of guilt that has not really been here before. I feel as though I'm doing something wrong in life. I have plenty on my plate to be thankful for, and I am, yet I can't shake this feeling. In a time where there are already so many expectations thrown around regarding gift giving, people seeing, and emotional behavior, feelings of isolation can be intensified.
The type of sadness that is felt during this time of the year is different than other forms of sadness, at least for me. It carries some warmth to it, as though this particular feeling may lead me to something better. It is always hard to ascertain what that "better" will be, or even when it will be, but it motivates me to go into the new year with an altered perspective. Of course, the shift from one year to the next is no more than a construct, since time itself does not speed up or change how the world will work. However, Going into a new school term after an extended break always gives me a chance to try to do things better for myself, while this particular one happens to fall in a new year as well.
I suppose we should embrace whatever we have during the holidays, even if it is a sense of sadness, because it is part of our identity. No matter what is going on, you are allowed to feel however you feel. The world is a scary, mean, unfair place but there are people out there working hard to make other people smile, despite how hard it may even be for them. That is enough of a reason to keep looking forward and try to make the world around us a better place before, during, and after the holidays. We do not have to forget each other after the holidays are over. Say hi to that friend or relative you have not seen since last year. Maybe just leave a little message that you are thinking of them. And remind yourself that you are doing okay, and tomorrow can always be better.