Lo, it came to pass that I found myself sitting on the floor of my laundry room beside a pile of dirty laundry, binge-watching episodes of “Matlock” on my iPad, drinking Hot Chocolate. Was I doing laundry? No, that would have been a productive use of my time. Instead, I was simply hiding as my laundry room had become my only source of privacy in the house. When the days on the calendar crept closer and closer to December 25th, slowly—then suddenly—the number of people visiting or staying at my house increased dramatically.
I love my family, and I adore my friends. I love having my friends over and they know that they’re always welcome at my house. Yet for this particular Christmas, I wasn’t feeling too festive or much in the mood for entertaining. There was a lot of “fake it till you make it” going on as I wondered if I was in a slump for this one holiday season, or if I simply had no desire to feel holly or jolly anymore. I was feeling weird about life. This had zapped my desire to be completely present when it came to festive shenanigans like decorating cookies with younger family.
So with a house full of family in just about every single corner, I retreated to the one spot no one lingers in, the laundry room. An hour or so of peace and quiet, being in my own world, was all I needed and wanted that day. I hoped that maybe a quick recharge of my batteries would perk me up to my usual, full tilt, Holiday Andy mode. Christmas is, as much as people say it like a cliche, my favorite time of the year. I usually am bursting at the seams with Christmas cheer, sometimes starting in early November to put decorations up.
So why was I feeling weird about life? I think it was for reasons that solely existed in my mind. I was feeling weird about things the way you do when you find yourself reaching your mid-30s and you start to wonder what you have to show for it. Social media contributed to this. You see the lives of your friends and random people you went to high school with but never talk to, you see how it’s all pitch perfect and they have the perfect family, house, and all the trappings that you’ve been told all your life is what makes you a “success.”
So naturally seeing this makes you sit and think, staring off into space while realizing that every relationship you’ve ever had or attempted to have, was a failure. This then leads to thinking about all the ways you thought your life would have been by the time you reached age X but you’ve found it’s still not exactly what you had hoped for. Despite all the good things that have happened, the blinds of perfection online intensify the bad.
As I sat there I began to think about things while also trying to beat Matlock in figuring out who the real killer was, I started to think about something that is important to remember when you think all around you is gloom and doom. That online perfection is there for a reason, most people don’t post every aspect of their lives. They share the happy times, the joyful moments, the perfect moments. Rare is it that someone shares their doubts, fears, and insecurities. With this in mind and the episode of “Matlock” over, I sat there in silence.
In the silence, I thought about my life. My joys, my hopes, my triumphs. All the things I had managed to do in my time on this Earth that once seemed impossible. I began to think that maybe, just MAYBE, I actually have it more together than I give myself credit for. I left the laundry room and went back into the kitchen where another batch of cookies was coming out of the oven—overseen by my Aunt. I then helped the excited young ones decorate. A smile came across my face, I began to feel festive.
My full tilt mode eventually came out that Christmas, as did my desire to eat as much butter related things as possible. I even one night said “screw it” and made a crown rib roast—which impressed everyone but the kids still wanted McDonald’s. Oh, well. You can’t win them all, can you? Merry Christmas. See you next week.