December is a hard month for me. It has been for a very long time, and the more time that passes, the more baggage builds up around this particularly stressful time, just making it worse. December is traditionally not a great month for me, and it may not be for you either if you are:
1. Effected by seasonal depression
It sucks. You can put on a mask for a while, but it’s one of those ever-present things that make everyday life-stuff harder. In fact, it just makes everything harder and it’s the worst.
2. Unhappy with your current state
December is that “look back and see what you’ve done” time that is sometimes hard for me. Even when I list out the things I’m proud of, there always seems to be a second list of personal failures or things I’m unsatisfied with. I’m quick to overvalue my mistakes and failures and slow to recognize my accomplishments, and so this sort of year-end reflection is rarely as uplifting or positive as it should be.
And sometimes it’s hard to evaluate the worth of your year when there are so many unknowns in your immediate future. I’m in the throes of job searching, which alone is stressful, but then there’s the “what has my last year of work produced, and is it applicable to what I’m looking for now” question–one which probably all freelance writers have to contend with.
I’m not happy with my health. I’m a big dude, and while I’ve made some significant changes over the last few years that have been good for me, I know I can do more to work towards a healthier lifestyle. I still like food that is terrible for me and probably eat too much of it.
Spiritually I’m not where I want to be. And that’s probably something that everyone who aligns themselves along the religious spectrum feels, but that doesn’t make the feeling intense. I think I’ve changed a lot in the last decade, become a human that tries to let empathy be the guiding force for my interactions with others. It has shaped my views in ways that mean many things I feel no longer align with the religious institutions I’ve grown up with. I have changed; they have stayed the same. Growth is good, but it means the list of “people you can turn to for spiritual advice” is very short indeed. Again, I feel as though I’m in a transitional period, and while it doesn’t stress me out, per se, if I had a board labeled “Life Stuff” with pictures and strings connecting the various elements, there’s be an assemblage of notes with lots of red ink and question marks on this particular section of the board.
3. Stressed by having to share your “state” with family
I don’t know if I really need to say much about this one. My family is a great stressor in my life. I love them very much, but holidays are…difficult.
Christmastime is the worst for this. I am often okay with my singleness, but when every outlet shouts that you’re missing out on a major part of the holiday because you don’t happen to be sharing it with a significant other, it becomes frustrating, as if the way you’re doing “life” isn’t correct. Oh are you all alone in this winter wonderland? Piss off, and here’s a Kay’s Jewelers commercial of people who are happier than you and have found someone they care for. And look, he bought her a diamond and they’re wearing cute sweaters by a log fire.
I get it, but it’s still not easy.
5. Feeling the lost a person/pet
Okay, so this is a little more specific, but this December is also kinda hard because I had to put down my dog of 13 years. So this is less of “this is why December always sucks” and more of “this is why this December it a little worse than usual.”
December is unequivocally the foulest month of the year for me. And maybe that will change at some point and one day I’ll realize that I have the things I care for and I’m satisfied with the things I’m doing and that maybe I just don’t care what my family thinks.
But that hasn’t happened yet for me. And while it’s easy to get down about these things, I’m trying my hardest not to let it totally sink my December by finding those things that really make life okay and prioritizing them. Scheduling them. Using them to push against those things that make me unhappy and make this time of year especially difficult. Here’s the short list:
1. Dedicated communication with friends
I am grateful that I have a fantastic group of friends that I can be open with. Some of them are hundreds of miles away, and some are in the same town I’m in. All of them are Very Cool people that I like a lot. Maintaining those connections this time of year helps.
2. Hard workouts
I give myself a pass sometimes and trade difficult day for a light workout. That needs to end this month. The feeling after a hard workout is the thing I will need to get me through the next few weeks.
Yeah, I know this is typically a writing blog, so here’s my weak connection. But seriously, I need to spend more time allowing for my own creative works, and moreover I need to be less critical of it. My critical process just kills forward movement on a project. It’s great for deep edits, but very bad for the drafting process.
This is something that has really helped in the past, and something I need to get back into. Maybe I’ll do some writing about my process for reflective writing and meditation later.
Well, that’s all for now. Hopefully I’ll get back to writing in this space a bit more frequently this month. I’ve got some topics cooking that I probably need to share.