It seems like every year after the holidays, I fall into a bit of a depressive mode, regardless of whether or not I spent the holidays with a special someone or just the usual family crowd. I don’t remember feeling this way when I was younger, in part because as a youth, grammar school kept me busy and I had new toys to play with. As one grows older, however, the holidays take on different meanings. Here’s a very brief summary of how it went for me, mixed in with what others might experience:
- Up to 12 Years: You likely believe in Santa Claus, and the magic of Christmas/Hanukkah is still very much apart of your holiday celebration. New toys, clothes, and cash gifts from relatives make you feel like you’ve hit the jackpot.
- 13-18 Years: The Santa Claus myth is busted, and, now that you’re in middle school or high school, the name of the game is to sulk around Christmas/Hanukkah and text your friends instead of interacting with the rest of the family. For the first time, you get more clothes than toys/gadgets for Christmas. Ugh. 🙁
- 19-25 Years: Christmas/Hanukkah takes on a new meaning if you’re working for a living or in college. Now, you have to start buying gifts for others (if you haven’t already) and the break that occurs over the holidays is a much needed respite from the hustle and bustle of young adult life. If you’re over 21, drinking at Christmas becomes all the rage. You might even go out after Christmas dinner to meet friends at a local bar.
- 26-30 Years: You’ve landed your first job and are just scraping by, managing to convince your boss to let you have 3 days off to celebrate the holiday. It can be a lonely time if your college buddies have moved away, or, are starting their own careers. Spending time with family and friends takes on a new meaning, especially if siblings bring their spouses or boy/girl friends to the dinner table. You might even buy gifts for a new child of your own or a new niece/nephew.
I’m not sure what happens after 30, because I’m only 30 still 🙂 , but I imagine one starts to take over for organizing the holidays from Mom and Dad, allowing them to rest and sleep in their chairs instead of quarter-backing all the food preparation and decorating.
The sad part of all of this starts January 2nd of the new year, when the real world hits you smack in the face. Suddenly, bills are due, you have to report to work, the Christmas tree or Menorah is put away, decorations come down, and you’re eating leftovers. Friends and family are back to their lives as well, so the emotions you experienced together are now history, tucked away until next year.
When I returned to Costa Rica after the Holidays, I went through a period of depression after I unpacked all my gifts and things returned to normal. All of the anticipation was gone. The excitement and cheer evaporated. I basically spent a few days in and out of bed feeling a bit disillusioned and lost.
I think the same happens for everyone, regardless of whether or not they have BPD or depressive tendencies. Frankly, reality bites (sorry for that old cliche), and now it’s time to take stock for the New Year.
In my case, I’ve resolved to lose weight (like millions of others), but haven’t gotten into the gym routine just yet. My other resolution is to be happy. I’m not even wasting my time with a resolution to find a girlfriend or wife. I’m going to stick with two important resolutions and see what happens from there.
My Mom used to play a Peter, Paul, and Mary Christmas Concert when I was younger full of Christmas and Hanukkah carols. At one point in the show, they sing a lovely version of “We Wish you a Merry Christmas”. During one refrain in the song, they ask, “Why can’t it be Christmas the whole year round?”. As a youth this feeling was a no brainer: who wouldn’t want gifts and food every day of the year?
As an adult, however, the thought of another Christmas in July brings would bring mixed emotions. There’s a lot at stake during the holidays, so maybe it’s better that we celebrate just once a year. The trick is to feel fulfilled the next 364 days of the year…
Happy New Year to All!… I just got up at 4:00 PM after going to bed at 3:00 AM the night before, and I’ve just welched on a promise to myself that I’d clean my dirty apartment and get out of the house.