What we own, doesn’t define who we are. Who we are defines what we own. We make up our lives and surroundings from who we are, and our means to do so. What we have does not make us any more or less of a person. The choices we make and actions we take, mean more than nuts and bolts or strips of fabric. How we treat others, is what is remembered, and savours or sours. Possession defines how the world views us superficially, and is either a vain or true reflection of how we want to be seen.
But when it all boils down, what is really important? What would you honestly miss if you lost it today? Would it really be the things that you own? The furniture, antiques, shag rugs, framed posters, appliances, outdated stereo systems, flash car, boxes of shit whose contents you can’t even remember, piles of backdated issue magazines from ‘quilters are us’, matchbox car collection, cd’s, gaming consoles that never see the light of day?
Those are the things, and things I could let go of (bar my coffee machine-and NO I don’t own quilters are us magazines) in an instant. They are just things. I would trade it all in a heartbeat, for what I no longer have.
What I miss, is not a what, but a who. The only material things that are important to me, are the things that hold memories and sentiment, and the ‘things’ that live and breathe.
And that thought in turn…leads to the time of year. The most wonderful time of the year, that is upon us. When we are socially bound to give and receive. When our gift giving lists ebb and flow with guilt and obligation, to give to those who we receive from, including Aunt Mildred twice removed, who sent the hideous, fuschia, fluffy, embroidered bath towels with matching scarf. When children expect iPads and the latest expensive gadgets, and rescue animals are handed out like candy, only to be later discarded like wrappers. When Christmas Day is spent buzzing from one place you have to be to eat, to another place you have to be to eat more, until you finally collapse in a food/exhaustion based coma.
Christmas is supposed to be a festive time spent with loved ones, yet for me, it is anything but. It has the opposite effect of being a heart-wrenching time, that simply reminds me of what I do not have. While people chitter about gifts and Christmas lunches, holidays and family, I smile and nod. I listen politely and hope they don’t ask me if I have plans, or who I will be spending the day with. I remain cheery and festive and wish them a wonderful holiday.
Because, I would prefer not to tell the strangers who ask, that Christmas is simply a stark, blunt reminder to me, of losing everyone and just about everything that has ever been important to me. That, even with several invitations to join others for Christmas, or alternately have company, I feel like I would rather lock my doors, and tell the world to just fuck off and leave me the hell alone, to miss what I don’t have in peace. That I want it to feel like just another day, that isn’t worse than all the others. That spending the day with anyone, simply means I have to fake smiles and cheer, and pretend that my heart isn’t crumbling. Because it will not be with the ones I love. Again.
For those of you who are spending the day with the person you love, the people you love, with love…treasure it. Never take it for granted. Make it special, and mean something. Remember how it feels to be there, in those moments. Take your pictures and then put away your phone and be present. Smile, talk, hug, love, laugh. Share the most important gift you have to give with the people that are important to you…your time.