I write a lot about home. It's that enigmatic thing that seems constantly beyond reach. And with the holidays around the corner, I'm thinking about it even more than usual.
How long until I no longer feel like an imposter in my own bed?
How long until my life stops feeling like an elaborate game of house - with me just playing along and pretending to know about mortgages and the debt ceiling and life insurance- and someone is going to swoop in and take over once again?
Maybe Garden State was right. Maybe a family really is just a group of people who all miss the same imaginary place. And in missing our original home, we come to believe that our current life, world, existence, is imaginary. When really the home we put on a pedestal is the one that's never coming back.
It's November 6th and I'm listening to Christmas playlists on repeat. I've always had a thing for this season. I'm a romantic at heart, and quality time is my love language, so why wouldn't I swoon for November and December?
While I've always loved this time, we've also had a tumultuous relationship. Because rose-colored kid glasses eventually fall off, I was disenchanted with the realities of the holidays as an adolescent. People in closer proximity than usual meant more disagreements. End-of-year exhaustion sometimes meant eating at a restaurant for Thanksgiving or ordering in on Christmas.
And I realized I wanted everything to be the way it's always been.
I wanted the special outfits and the festive pajamas and for everyone to open presents before we ate breakfast, not after. I have come into this season of the year with so many expectations. But expectations can be dangerous things.
Last year was different. For the first time, one of the invitees to our holiday celebrations was there because of me. And it was probably the best Christmas yet. Because I didn't know what to expect. All I knew was that it was the sharing of the experience that mattered most to me.
I want to live my holidays this way from now on. I want to live my life this way from now on.
The second you put expectations on a person, event, or thing, you leave them very little room to surprise you.
So this is your friendly, neighborhood reminder that you can keep your childlike wonder this holiday season. In fact, I encourage you to do so. Leave room to be surprised. And most importantly, don't let it pass you by.