Here’s the Thing: Revel in the season

This is the time of year when my body type is Santa Claus. It’s very jolly and unforgiving when making wide turns.

It’s that time of year when you have to get over any personal issues you might have, because it’s an unwritten rule that you must be sweet during the holidays. Even if it looks like keeping your unfiltered thoughts to yourself.

Ask yourself, is it worth it? No one really likes a Scrooge. Everyone loves a Tiny Tim. So dig deep, Timmy, and put on that happy face. Get ready to endure a lot of small talk and prepare to hear about your distant relative’s personal victories, financial woes, and relationship issues on repeat.

As long as there is pie constantly transporting from the fork to my mouth, my listening skills should be alright. The only thing I want to get emotional about is the size of the ham. The compassion is there, but so is the food. If I have to choose, people are going to be disappointed. Pass that pie.

This year has slayed my mind with the number of unknowns that have cropped up. Luckily, it’s mostly first-world problem stuff and while I’m grateful, I’m still human. My problems feel huge. It’s interesting because it seems to me like others are going through challenges more than usual as well. I admire people that went through rough times. They’ve shown a lot of bravery and it’s worth focusing on during the holiday season.

This year we’ve tried to confront or grow from the things that haunt us. Close friends were brave enough to let me support them and pour into their lives, yet they support me in the same way. That’s what I find most endearing about bravery, it’s easier when you’re not alone. Even though Christmas time is almost always about joy, peace, and happiness, this year it’s about the ability to be brave and the courage to grow from it. Not just when you’re forced to be brave, but at the post office, at the school, in my home, at work, at the grocery store, anywhere you go there’s always an opportunity to stretch yourself.

It’s not easy, but practice makes perfect. If I let you in my personal space, maybe that’s super gracious of me depending on my mood. You never know. You may be testing your level of bravery and have no idea.

Don’t listen to me, I have a degree in art, not psychology (or anything else that’s real). If you’re a human being that lives on this planet, you’re part of the herd. It’s safe to say the majority of us deal with other humans on a daily basis. We get to choose to enjoy or tolerate each other.

During the holidays I embrace it. It’s a good time for my cranky self to be sweet. Maybe I’m melodramatic, but people really do seem nicer this time of year. It feels like we all agree to make an effort, because we know everyone else is making an effort. A selfish reason to be kind, but it still works.

Empathetic people everywhere are in their own personal heaven right now. It’s not a perfect winter wonderland, obviously Black Friday has a reputation. For all the love and good cheer that’s everywhere, greed and tempers still have a pretty good track record. Road rage around Christmas traffic feels similar to yelling at Rudolph to get off the road. Maybe consider letting it go, you know he has self-esteem issues.

The snow is pretty. White chocolate mochas are extra yummy. My son enjoys the festive lights and banners around town. My daughter is doing great in school. Little by little I remind myself to rack up the things I’m thankful for instead of getting lost in the rush of every day life. In the hustle, we can forget how hard we worked for the things we currently have.

Not just material things, but relationships too. At some point you put yourself out there and it’s uncomfortable, but you believe in it. That feels like work. Bravery comes in all forms. Asking for forgiveness, giving an apology, or making peace that you may never get either are all brave things.

Here’s the thing: This holiday season is refreshing. I don’t think of it as the year is leaving, but as a welcome mat for the new year to come. Everyone is ready for bigger, better, bolder, braver things.

Even with my sometimes cynical attitude, I love that this has been a year of transformation. Usually change requires some form of catalyst and often times we’re not real confident about what that looks like. Watching uncertainty up close has been exhausting, but spiritual. You have to have faith things will be good. Pie good.

Kasi McClure enjoys being a wife and mother of two in Kenai. She can be reached at columnkasi@gmail.com.

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