Holidays change over the years depending on age and circumstances. I am a senior and Bipolar, and those two thing color my emotions and feelings of well-being.
My extended family lives in TX, CO, AZ, and CA. My kids, grandchildren, and great grand children, who live within 30 miles from me, are busy with their activities. I moved to my present location over four years ago, and I haven’t connected with many people who are beyond casual acquaintances. I have slowed down a lot due to my age. So the holiday season is not anything I look forward to.
Years ago I decided what special days were important to me personally. I came up with my birthday and Mother’s Day. The other days took on a different meaning for me. I consider Christmas to be the celebration of Jesus’ birthday. A family meal is a nice addition. I give to a charity in his name. I consider Thanksgiving a day wrapped around eating and remembering what I have to be thankful for. If I have a meal with family members I consider that a plus. Easter is a religious day. I try to think about all believers of all faiths, and am glad I live in a country where freedom to believe or not to believe is allowed.
Each year during the Winter season I try to plan for fun things to do. In the past I have started a new quilt. This year I have joined a gym to begin getting myself in better shape. I sometimes put off starting a new book to read until this time of year. I am looking at a stack of books that I am chomping at the bit to read as I type this blog. I pulled out my old Therapy light and started using it for half and hour each morning to lift my spirits.
Non of these thing always work, but often they do. When I have a down day, or moment, I tell myself “This feeling will pass”, and it does. I tend to think about friends and family members who have passed. My brother died on Christmas Eve in 1989. Sometime I take those memories of loss and write about their lives as therapy.
I miss the festivities of school programs and the delight I saw in my children’s faces when they opened their special gifts that were under the tree, when they were growing up. I miss not having anyone to bake and decorate for. But spending time with those thoughts are not healthy for me now. I need to live in the present. Things never stay the same, they either get better or worse. I try to find something I can make better in my life or for someones else. One year I made 18 simple quilts for a family of 4 adults and 5 children (2 for each). The family was adopted for the Christmas season by a church I was attending. I had the time and fabric, and loved every minute I worked on them.
Here is a thought for all of my friends out there in Blogville. Depression can come from many places during this time of year. Money can be an issue. Being alone can also be tough. Just remember the season will end and life will go on. Hug yourselves and do something special. Take advantage of community dinners and get-to -gathers if that is something you might like to do. If you have the means, drive around and look at the Christmas light displays. Over Dose on college football. There are lots of bowl games going on between now and New Years. Be creative. You have the power to try to fill your life with joy. Thoughts matter. I believe we are our thoughts. My prayers are for you all, happy or sad.
Here is an update on a blog I published several years ago, that I think still holds true today.
I remember how I was feeling the day I wrote the original blog. I was feeling old and sad. Here are some updated thoughts from then. I am amazed at how good I am doing heading into the holiday season this year. One choice I have made is to not zero in on any specific expectations and just let life happen. Another biggie is to not get drawn into things I have no control over. I wish I had followed this years ago.
I have some wonderful interests that make me happy, that need no one but me to engage in. I still quilt, read, and work on “Hard copy” pictures albums I started a few years ago. I hope to finish the nine soon. I have found Flickr as a place to save and share photos as well.
My Blogging has taken off. I love doing it. I have piles of notes and files for future blogs. I cover many subjects that interest me. I still talk about my take on being Bipolar, but that subject does not dominate my writing. I took a two-year break, because I blogged primarily about my being bipolar and got a pretty good following. The stories of followers affected me negatively, because I felt their pain. I have since learned to read painful stories and not let them become a trigger.
I have adjusted to being “Old as dirt” and not being able to travel. Facebook keeps me connected with family members and friends who are computer savvy. I telephone those who are not. I have three great-grandchildren that keep me entertained with pictures their parents post.
I live mostly in the present, where my power is. I think learning to love myself unconditionally has helped. I fill my mind with positive, “Self Talk”. Whether I am having a good day or a bad day I honor who I am, and how I am feeling, and keep on keeping on. It seems to be working. I cannot remember a super low or high episode in a long time. I do not let disappointments derail me as they once did. I consider that a miracle. I hope everyone reading this will take their power back and “HANG ON” when things look bleak around the holidays. There is probably much joy hanging around the next bend. If sadness pops in, honor it and allow it to pass. If the sadness involves people who are no longer alive concentrate on when they were here and remember and honor them with your memories. One great activity is to write those memories down for future generations to read. That is turning a negative into a positive on the highest level, in my humble opinion.