It’s a shame that we focus so much attention on the space three feet in front of us and not the space around us because we miss so much. We are animals with a recency bias and while we look to the past, and think of the future, it is the moment that suspends us.
Naturally, we focus on the holidays as a time of loneliness, loss, and sadness, and ask one another to reach out to the ones you love and care for to make sure they are safe, forgetting that these same people may indeed be sadDER now, loneLIER now but that what they feel doesn’t go away the day the holidays end.
The sense of displacement, of deep-seated loneliness isn’t something that blows in and out like fog on the wind but stays with a person. You have good days, you have better days, and you have days where you need to keep yourself away from things that make it all too easy to end the life you feel you have wasted, squandered, or been cheated of.
We look at the holidays, a time of family, of friends, and a time of people looking to get into a romance or deepen a romance and there are those of us that are outside looking in, watching but not participating.
We think of them, after the fact, and try to think of them before, but we’re caught up in our lives, in our loves, and in the moment.
And that’s not a condemnation, but a reality.
For many this is a ‘magical’ time.
A special time.
It’s a very hard line to walk to celebrate and also be mindful of those you love who are outside looking in.
It’s also hard to not sound like you are patronizing someone.
As if they need your charity.
And it is terrible to feel that pain, that loneliness and to want people around you but to hate those that do come near. To hate that they want to help and be there for you. You feel weak and powerless and even weaker and more powerless to stop those feelings.
The weight of the holidays are heavy, but the weight of the daily routine is nearly as heavy.
Hard to consider the many people who have come and gone in your life.
To think of the love you have had and the love you have lost.
The friends you have let drift away or have actively pushed away.
It’s hard to look at your life and feel as if you have wasted time, wasted chances, and wasted talent.
Life becomes less of a roller coaster, a thrill ride of ups and downs that will always end but which we need to enjoy while we’re on it, and more of a freefall towards oblivion.
Falling, falling, falling.
We press so closely to the mirror that we miss the world around us.
And we search for meaning, we search for answers when it is there, in front of us and around us.
Living is for living.
It is to experience the ups and downs and pain and joy and to take it all in and learn from it.
It’s to share this life and have it shared.
It’s to simply be present on the ride and to see where it takes you.
Pain and heartache are as much a part of life as love and joy.
They are all kin and all a part of the experience.
Emotional pain reminds us that we feel and that we keep feeling.
Physical pain reminds us we are still here.
Neither is pleasant or generally sought, but they are part of the cost of this damned life of ours.
The hardest part of this season to me is to think of all the lives that have touched yours and to know that so many are lost to you, those connections severed, some of those lives lost, and that you must still carry on.
Even those still in your life, those that stand at the edges of your circle, who you want so desperately to reconnect with but who just don’t want or can’t offer the hand you offer them back. It’s heartbreaking but it is what it is.
It’s folly to obsess over why people fade from our lives but it’s another part of life, another part of the ride.
We can be there for them, we can make ourselves available to them, but if people want to walk away, or need to walk away, we have to let them go.
And while the romanticism of this time of year, of endings and new beginnings, makes us believe that All is New and All is Old is just a mindset that means nothing to the heart.
Life knows little about calendars.
Time though, time it knows everything about.
This is a time for ghosts.
A time for absence.
A time for the lonely.
While we huddle together under trees, and near fireplaces, it is the lonely, the reflections of ourselves at different stages in life, who are the backs on which this is all built. Loneliness like joblessness and the person looking, always looking for something they feel they may never find.
Desperate to not be desperate.
It is them we must remember, not today, not tomorrow, but always.
They who cling to the slimmest slivers of hope.
It’s not enough to remember them today.
We must remember them always.
Because they are us.
We are them.
Deep down most of us are painfully lonely and desperate to be understood and accepted and very few of us, too few, find that love and acceptance.
We must work to gently reach out to those who want our hand, to not pity them but remember that we were them, and are them still.
I don’t have an answer to how we help everyone, because some don’t want help, don’t want us, and don’t want anyone. What they want is something they need to define, not us. I have no idea what we do for them.
Other than this –
We don’t give up.
We don’t push, but we don’t give up.
They deserve that.
We all do.
Even in our absence.