Saturday, December 25, 2010

All is Calm, All is Bright...Because We Chose it to Be

Christmas night and for us, it's still not over. As a matter of fact, it still hasn't really started. For reasons that aren't really important right now, the big meal will be tomorrow, when my kids turn up with two dogs and a blizzard on the way. Sue's niece may come over, depending on snow boarding conditions. Al lives in Cambridge, but it just might be easier for her to bed down for the night here. She'll have to flip her sister for the couch or the guest room. And yes, as crazy as life and our Christmases can be (with our families, Sue and I don't even attempt a Currier and Ives Christmas; we know, like Santa, world peace, and love at first sight, it's simply a wishful fabrication) we still are having a great Christmas because expectations are fluid and I think happiness in this world is dependent upon intelligence and experience.

All the makings of happiness are right there. It's your choice: Be happy, or stew in your own juices.

The other day Kathryn and I were booking it up the hill back to the apartment. She said, this hill seems to just keep getting steeper. For me, there's a little something in me now that, every time I have to run for the subway or I walk up and down stairs or walk uphills, I say a little thank you, because three months ago I literally couldn't walk. And today my back and leg show no sign of the damage done. So look at it this way: Think of all the opportunities I have in a day to be thankful, simply for being able to walk. All I have to do is walk up some stairs and I get to choose whether or not I'm going to feel happy.

Right now my truck is dead in the water--dead battery and in need of a tune up I can't afford because of a mixup earlier in the fall with BU about my loans. So I found myself walking to the grocery store instead of driving. I could have moaned about it, but instead it was a pretty day, and I thought to myself, I'm walking to the grocery store, for God's sake. I can afford food. And it's not like I'm walking to a hospital where Sue is lying sick. Be happy.

For many years I competed in road races and now because of my back, my running days are over. The doctor said I could do permanent damage if I continue. I guess I could get depressed about that, but instead of seeing it as my running days are over,  I see it as my biking days are beginning. Life is about change, and new opportunities coming while old ways go to the wayside. 

Years ago, whenever I raced, I always would reach a point where it because so painful because of how hard I'd push myself that I'd say, I'm never doing this again. Of course I would, and next race I'd come to that same point again. Until one time I was in a race, only this time my mother was at my apartment dying of cancer. And I thought to myself, what a jerk. You're healthy enough to be out here doing this. Stop your damn complaining. And I always enjoyed racing after that.

These thoughts come into my head because, for reasons that really aren't important right now, this Christmas has been trying. The only things traditional about this year have been the tree and the stockings hung by the chimney with care.  We've had our ups and downs. The economy. Family matters. Life in general, all like some insidious Grinch tried to foil us. But we haven't allowed anything or anyone stop us from enjoying the season and being in the spirit of the season because it was our choice to do that. And tomorrow I have faith that we will continue to enjoy it.

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