In January, after exhaling the chaos of the holidays, I have a lot of time to spend on one of my favorite yet not always productive pastimes: thinking.
I wish with that age came consistent wisdom to solve what I perceive as life’s struggles, but what are most often non-entities that elicit whining and complaining on my end. I have always been a pro at making something out of nothing. I pursue things that most people wouldn’t waste time pursuing, and slog on self-created paths alongside ones that are well-worn and to be honest, easier and better.
I am a navel-gazer of the worst kind.
This may not seem such a horrible thing, for a little self-awareness goes a long way. It’s good to be sensitive to those around you, to empathize and sympathize and to conduct yourself in a way that you are helping and not hindering the progress of the world that revolves around you. It’s not good when self-awareness goes so deep that you are incapable of acting for fear that someone else might be affected negatively.
It sounds like post-holiday letdown, seasonal affective disorder, and good old-fashioned depression rolled into one big sad sack, but I promise you, it’s not gloom and doom. There is a bright side.
The bright side of all this aging is that in January, I feel myself growing into my gentle spirit. When we’re young, sensitivity is crying, drama, feeling misunderstood. We use flowery language and it’s weird, and hyperboles most always elicit eye-rolls. Feelings of inadequacy are embarrassing and are learned to be best left unsaid. Reaching out to tell friends we love them isn’t cool. Sensitive doesn’t always fit, and to not fit is unthinkable when we are young.
As I sit at my kitchen table looking at the cards of encouragement and well-wishes that need to be mailed, I feel none of these things. I’ll be as flowery as I want and hyperbolic to the nth degree. This is how I feel, and this is who I am. Even if people laugh and roll their eyes, I feel justified knowing that I sent my feelings out, that they may help someone else to know that they are being thought about in a good way.
The slowness of life in January enables me to reach out to others, to grow into myself, and to live my life instead of my life living me.
In January I feel freer to be myself, and that’s not such a bad thing.