Sunday, December 28, 2008

Another year gone by

The holidays were strange this year.

Christmas came and went with very little fanfare. While the day after Christmas is often a bit of a let down, it was less so this year because I felt like there wasn't as much build up to the big day. It couldn't be a let down if the holiday itself was, well, not as bright.

Don't get me wrong - it was all very nice. I had a great time at my parents' on Christmas Eve. It was lovely to visit with John's family Christmas day. I received some awesome gifts, too, and I think everyone was equally happy with what I gave them.

All the same, there's been a kind of shadow obscuring some parts of my life as of late, and that couldn't be ignored on Christmas. I missed my brother, mostly, and that removed presence left a mark on all things holiday-related. It made Christmas arrive more quietly, and slip away even more so. Honestly, the day after Christmas I woke up without the usual sadness that accompanies my favorite holiday's end for another 364 days.

I woke up and it was just another day.

I wonder if things were just different because of that shadow, or if maybe Christmas has lost even more of its magic. Every year it seems less of a big deal, weeks of holding your breath only to end up letting it all go in a little sigh at the end. Maybe it's just me. Maybe you have to work to keep that magic, and I haven't done a very good job of it.

Looking back, the year as a whole was okay. I wouldn't call 2008 stellar (by far), but it also wasn't as bad as they've come. (Perhaps closer to bad than great, though.) There were plenty of challenges this year. There were also tons of problems that I couldn't even come close to fixing. I'd like to say that 2009 is going to be much, much better, but who knows? It's not like I planned for 2008 to turn out how it did.

I don't mean to sound like a martyr. I'm totally aware that, considering the lives of many people, my 2008 was far from disastrous. However, I've realized in the past that it's futile to measure your own trials and tribulations against those of others; true, it can give you moments of clarity and perspective, but if you have reason to be upset, it's not healthy to constantly push those feelings aside by reasoning that you don't have it as bad as it can be.

You can't drown in self pity, but it's okay to acknowledge when life has dealt you a rough hand. Yes, there is always going to be someone with a worse hand. Along the same vein, there will always be someone with one better.

I guess I'll hope for a happier, healthier, all-around-better 2009. What's done is done, and in three days, 2008 is totally in that category.

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