Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas 2015 After-Action Report

Notes on a foreshortened season.

The singing angle summons the decorations
from their perches. My wife is in a hurry to
de-Christmas the house so she can get back
to the business of prepping it for sale.
I’m not at all religious but I know a miracle when I’m feeling it. The miracle is all the things I finally got straightened out in my head this Christmas. I’ve even made—and am so far keeping—resolutions. They’re beautifully elegant in their simplicity and how each one supports the other.

First, I have resolved to use the tablet I got for Christmas for my Internet trash reading, and do that trash reading outside of my office. The principle behind this is the same as in modifying one’s behavior to combat insomnia, by using the bed exclusively for sleeping or sex. One should not read or watch TV in bed if one ever hopes to establish a proper sleep schedule. Likewise, I shouldn’t be using this chair in front of this desk in my office if I’m not writing. 

It’s not the delayed writing I’m concerned about, either. It gets to where I’m simply existing in this chair, and life is short. There are people who are forced to live in their chairs who wish they could get up. I need to indulge this luxury while my bones still support me.

Second, I am de-cluttering everything. On Christmas Eve, I began reviewing and deleting links on my Chrome bar. I not only found and tossed some ghost sites, I said goodbye to a few that I would actually look at from time to time. Most were sites indulging in the Great Issues Complaints of the Day. I am no longer interested in such things. The negativity doesn’t help my writing, nor does it improve my health. Knowledge of the latest skulduggery by bad actors conveys no benefit to me whatsoever. 

I already know to avoid bad actors. Out, out it all goes.
These are good actors, staging for their final boxing in Colorado.

The result of this change was immediate. I’m not tempted to go to those old websites because I don’t want to upset the calmness of spirit I enjoy. 

The de-cluttering continues in terms of my losing weight (this has been going on since October), shedding and shredding old papers, and discarding items I’ve held onto for no reason beyond neurotic hoarder’s instinct. It’s much like throwing weight overboard an aircraft in order to gain altitude. 
You guys stay.

Chapters were closed this year. New ones were opened. 2015 marked our first Christmas with our adult children, and it was very good. We all understood next year would be different. We don’t know when or how, but we may miss a couple of Christmases together from here on out, for whatever reason. Which is as it should be. They’re getting their own things going on. We should be moving on, too.

I really don’t want to leave Colorado but we can’t stay here. All our friends are back east. Still, to leave our children...our grown children, but still...I have that much more to sort out in my heart and head. I’ll work it out along the way. Like everything else.

A curiously symbolic thing happened just last night. My son had returned from his girlfriend’s house. He was in the mood to sit up and talk about things, so I offered him a beer. He reached for the bottle opener I’ve had for ten years or so, and it broke in his hand.

I’d forgotten how long I’d had this old novelty bottle opener. My son told me with how amused his sister and he were as they heard me use this to pry off a cap, then fume for a minute while tinny noises of Homer Simpson enjoying a beer played out. They were small children then. They laughed even harder as the battery began dying and Homer Simpson’s voice slowed into a prolonged growling before ceasing altogether.

We’d had this novelty bottle opener for over ten years. It had opened thousands and thousands of beers for me. It broke opening my son’s beer. He felt bad about it. I thought it apropos. I took a photo for posterity. Then I tossed it. RIP, Homer Simpson novelty bottle opener.

RIP, so many people and things this year. “And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

For those who have read this far, I hope you have had a Merry Christmas. Here’s a wish for an energized and productive New Year to all of good heart.

       I wish you a hopeful Christmas,
       I wish you a brave New Year,
       All anguish, pain and sadness
       Leave your heart and let your road be clear.

                                                           —Greg Lake
                            “I Believe in Father Christmas”