We’re in it. We’re in that THICK OOEY GOOEY STENCH of the holidays.
Funny enough, despite the mid-December date, I haven’t had a single glass of egg nog, nor bought a tree, or even a single gift. It’s not that I’m a Grinch, it’s just that I’m quite well spent. So I gave myself a free pass on these holidays. I’ll do it up next year. I’ll make fruit cakes galore and sing carols with good cheer. (Oh dear god, that rhyme was an accident, I swear.)
My immediate reaction to taking a year off from the holidays was relief. Because I was finally setting zero expectations for them. You see, I have always believed that Love Actually was actually real life.
That is to say… if I wore the perfect red sweater and artfully tousled hair and positioned myself juuuuust so amongst other party revelers, well duh of course the man of my dreams is going to fall madly in love with me upon first sight and obviously there would be a sprig of mistletoe perfectly hung two feet above my head (not my first rodeo, honey buns) so he would have an easy excuse to kiss me before midnight without so much of an awkward millisecond so it would be the perfect first kiss which would spur us to sneak out of the party and onto the street where we would magically find a street vendor selling spiked cider and we would walk through Washington Square Park talking about our mutual love of an obscure artist and just as we were walking by the Christmas tree in the arch it would start snowing, which he would take as a “sign” and get down on one knee and propose to me right then and there with his Grandmother’s ring he had been wearing on a chain around his neck since she past the year prior, because she had told him, when he meets the right girl, he will just know.
In reality, my ex-boyfriend once bought me a bluetooth device for Christmas and didn’t even bother to remove the $24.99 sticker slapped across the front of it.
You think I would have learned then and there to keep my expectations as low as Kim K’s v-necks, but no, every Christmas morning I hold my breath just a little, like maybe this will be the year of magic…
… and then someone gives you a bluetooth device. Good riddance.
So! None of that this year. I’m taking a pass. And I’m loving it. It doesn’t even feel like the holidays to me. I walk down Fifth Avenue and instead of that weird feeling of nostalgia you sometimes get while you’re experiencing something, I just wonder where the hell all these tourists came from. Peppermint latte at Starbucks? Normally I’d expect this to turn me into an actual gingerbread man. When it just gives me a headache? Who cares. Those Gap holiday commercials that make me tear up because my family will never look that cute in colored stripes? Thank you, next.
My laissez faire attitude towards the holidays was going great till last night. Vanessa and I found ourselves working late at the office and ended up down a rabbit hole of music videos. It started with Fat Boy Slim’s Weapon of Choice (are there better song lyrics than “walk without rhythm and it won’t attract the worm”?), then we pondered Black Key’s Lonely Boy (where did they find that brilliant specimen of a human?!). And finally I introduced her to one of my all time favorites, Time’s Always Leaving by the Lone Bellow.
And there, while sitting on a stool hunched over Vanessa’s desk watching that music video, I started dancing. I was exhausted, with a few more hours of work, but I couldn’t help but dance a little when hearing that song. It was just a bit of a shoulder shimmy and I can’t even promise it was on beat (okay, fine, Vanessa told me right then and there I was definitely OFF beat), but damn if it didn’t feel good.
And then I thought, when’s the last time I danced? Like DANCCEEDDD. With abandon. The kind of dancing where you feel electrifyingly alive in your own body. The kind of dancing that only happens alone in one’s apartment.
Vanessa left for the night. As did I. But I couldn’t shake that song. So when I got home, I put it back on. On repeat. And danced like a maniac. It wasn’t a holiday song, nor was there a Christmas tree I was “rockin’ around,” but damn if it didn’t feel a little magical.
As the song says, “time’s always leaving.” Do I really even have the time to not believe in a little magic? I have a finite amount of holiday seasons left to experience, and definitely a finite amount of times a stranger will propose to me with a cherished family heirloom having just met me two hours earlier.
So I’m going to still believe in the magic of the holidays, but more importantly recognize it when it actually happens. My expectations should probably not be a bended knee in Washington Square Park (okay fiiinnnee, it’ll never be that. There. I gave it up, are you happy?). Instead, it might be me, by myself in my kitchen dancing without fear until I realize how out of breath I am from merely dancing and dammit if I don’t start working out again if only to be able to dance a bit longer by myself in my own kitchen without wheezing a lung up.
So I encourage everyone to create a little magic for yourself over the next few weeks even if it’s just DANCING YOUR LITTLE DAMN HEART OUT.