Every year, in December, I write a holiday letter to friends and family. It has become a tradition for the past 36 years and has turned into a collection of somewhat-humorous summaries of my life in 500 words. Of course, I try to make the letter entertaining and unique. And because I don’t have what we might call a typical life ( two and a half kids, partner, picket fence, Fido, and a cuisinart ), it has been pretty easy to be charmingly quirky. Because, as you all know, I am charmingly quirky. A proud, smart, sensitive outlier.
And that, my friends, is how you might start seeing yourself, even if you do have two and half kids, a partner, a picket fence, Fido, and a cuisinart. You also have a rainforest mind. And that makes you charmingly quirky. Not too sensitive. Not too weird. Not too intense. Not too much.
Can you dig it?
This time of year it can be particularly hard to be an outlier. There is so much pressure to conform to the expectations of the holiday season. The buying frenzy. The obligations to attend office parties. The family events with relatives who ask what happened to your great potential, why are you still single, and isn’t climate change a hoax. The plastic kitchy gifts that arrive wrapped in styrofoam sent from inane in-laws. The feeling that you can’t do it right no matter if you are seen as too enthusiastic or too overwhelmed, or both. The loneliness you may feel if you are single and wish you weren’t or if you are alienated from toxic family members or if your friends are distant and clueless.
I have celebrated the holidays in different ways over the decades. There were the years of volunteering at the free community dinners. The years with partners and their kids. The years with my best friend and her family. The years tango dancing. The years alone watching Love Actually and eating most of (OK, all of) the pumpkin pie. And the years of seeing clients who would otherwise be alone on the holiday. That’s a heck of a lot of years. And those are just since I’ve been an adult.
I will be on my own again this year. But because I am very much a smart, sensitive, charmingly quirky holiday season outlier, I am not feeling lonely, abandoned, or freakish.
But if you are anxious about the holidays and are going to be alone or even if you will be with people but you feel lonely, abandoned, and freakish, I invite you to remember who you really are. Who you really are: A charmingly quirky (smart! creative! sensitive! insightful! adorable!) holiday season outlier.
Join me, sweet rainforesters. I’ll bring the pie. And, together, we will feel the Real Love, actually.
To my bloggEEs: How are the holidays for you? Not everyone finds them challenging so feel free to tell us how you celebrate and what you love about this time of year. Or tell us what you find difficult. Know that I am sending all of you love whichever way you feel!