Whether it is as brief a journey to the warm covers of your bed, you pile into your car for a journey, whether short or long, or you get into one of our tin contraptions and zoom across the sky, please consider.....
You are only required to deal with your "family" until you're 18. Beyond that day the choice is yours. If you are stressed by being around certain people, then don't be there. Go do something else. The concept that you have some "duty" to participate in a family ritual that takes 5 years off your life and skyrockets your blood pressure is crap. Freedom includes the freedom to say "no" when it is entirely justified, and sometimes it is.
If you're religious and Christian, consider two things about Christmas: 1) It's supposed to be about celebrating the birth of Christ, and 2) early Christians stole a pagan holiday for the date. Don't believe me, go look it up. Was this part of your early Christian education? If not, you now have another reason to wonder why man seems to tell so many half-truths. This is not a dispargement of religion; some of the most-scientific among men and women are deeply religious, because we recognize both the limits of our understanding and the unlikely arrangement of events that would be required to produce this universe we live in "all by random chance." It is, however, recognition that men lie, and the more power they are granted (or arrogate to themselves) the more likely they are to lie and the more-damaging the lies will be. In other words, to be brief, tune up your bull**** detector.
Revere how you continue to be on the planet; respect the circle of life. Go read my essay "On Killing" if you haven't (you probably have if you're reading this.) Contemplate it. The fact is that we are all here because we kill. It's a particular irony that when I carve up a pork roast this evening and a turkey breast tomorrow myself and my family, along with those invited, will live for another day because other things died -- and yet we are celebrating a birth. This may become much more important in the months and years ahead. We can hope and pray it does not, but hope is not a strategy with high odds of a positive return.
Consider all the crap you support in the world, directly and indirectly, with your actions -- especially those you could do without. You might want to think about, for example, how may of your tax dollars (or pennies, as the case may be) bought a missile that was shot as a follow-up in the "war" on terror -- not to wax some evil terrorist, but to kill those who came to the aid of the dead and dying after the first shot. Or you might consider how many of your tax dollars went to fund Eric (Place)Holder's Fast and Furious campaign which has led to hundreds of Mexican deaths -- and at least two American ones. Or you might consider the monopoly protections your government has ladled upon the medical industry, again, with your tax dollars (or pennies) which have driven the cost of medical care up 400% or more than it would cost in a market-based system, all the while lying to about how you need "help" from that same government to afford said care. If you have a shred of humanity this contemplation will likely make you cry, even if just a bit. That's ok; it's Christmas, after all. The obvious question that follows, of course, is what if anything you're going to do about it in the New Year.
Figure out what you need to do in the New Year to prepare, and do so. The most-important preparation is mental. The second-most important is physical -- your physical preparation. Have you let it all go? You can't afford to do that. Fix it. Yeah, I know, it's hard. Guess what -- all things that are worthwhile are difficult. The most-important part of that process, and the most-difficult, is to stop lying to yourself. If you're 50lbs overweight, stop saying you're "a bit pudgy" or "I could lose 10lbs." That's crap and you know it -- the fact is that you're fat. Honesty begins at home. If your medicine cabinet looks like something out of an illicit pill factory consider whether you're putting patches on lifestyle choices with the bottle -- just like an alcoholic does, but with a different sort of drug. Can you change that? Maybe, and maybe not. But if you don't honestly assess where you are and what you really need, how will you ever know -- or improve?
Stop pretending that it will all be ok. It will definitely not be. Timelines are the worst sort of thing in this regard, and so are illusions of normalcy. Ask the people of Rwanda how that worked out. They went from tension but thinking it would all be ok to having 20% of their population slaughtered in three months. Literally three months. Did that snap you out of an eggnog-induced coma? It should have, but probably didn't. If not take a census around your holiday party -- how many of you would be ok if you lost your job and there was no unemployment, no food stamps, no income -- for six to twelve months. Would you and your family be ok? If not, what do you intend to do about it? Praying -- or hoping -- that it doesn't happen is a strategy but if you lose the bet do you have a backup plan?
Finally, one cheery thing -- enjoy the holiday. The airmover is unlikely to be impacted by the brown stuff in the next two weeks, and it's ok to indulge during this time. We all need it once in a while. But the best sort of indulgence comes with some exertion of the mind, so you have a path forward. And while you're making your holiday rounds take stock of those around you -- who you can trust, who you can't, who you choose not to. Who has constructive habits and who has destructive ones. Who comes out to help you chop wood for the fire, and who is so ****-faced that he'd chop his own leg off if he tried. Who you can have constructive conversation with, and who thinks the world -- or government -- owes him or her something. Who is alive, awake and aware -- and who is not.
Where We Are, Where We're Heading (2013) - The annual 2013 Ticker
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