What Xmas Means to Me This Year
Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.
Time can be wiser than our own intentions.
-Han Ong, "The Monkey Who Speaks"
Robert Waldinger, a psychiatrist and Zen priest, runs the Harvard Happiness Study. He recommends that we declare a "best day in advance" each week. My day this week was today, which I declared as I drifted off to sleep last night. I knew I'd be up early to make it to the pool by its 8:30 opening, and it's easy for me to be happy as I am swimming laps. A bit of a cheat, perhaps, but the morning was rainy, snowy and bleak, so a declared day of happiness was a very good idea.
LOL, I met a cheerful woman in the locker room whose bathing suit had stretched out as much as mine. "Is your replacement suit languishing in a container as well?" I asked. And we both laughed, like the masked bandits we have become.
Oh, Happy Days! On the way home, I stopped at a small local grocery store to stock up on hummus, a staple in my vegetarian diet, and LOL there was none. "We've been rationed," the owner told me. "Shortages are hitting the small shopkeepers hard."
But it's Christmas, or the American version of Christmas, the season of lights. No presents this year, just cards and cookies to the essential workers in our lives. We want to thank them for their hard work, courage and kindness, these past difficult months. Top of the list is our local mechanic who has kept our old buggy going without ripping us off, our doctors and pharmacists, restaurant owners, and independent bookstores, to name just a few. And we've donated to organizations that are doing important, meaningful work: the International Rescue Committee, PEN America, Save the Children's Fund and Wikipedia.
Wishing you all a peaceful and safe holiday season. May all your rapid tests—if you can get them, or afford them—remain negative and bright: #getboostered #gettested #maskup