Here are some of Alice’s thoughts in the space between the miraculous birth of Christ and the party of the (end of) the year, which resembles the revelry of a Gatsby extravaganza.
Christmas carols are our oral (and singing) history. They tell us of Christ’s birth, the wise men, Herod, all the parts of the puzzle that make up the origin story and the story of my faith. Through them, our history is preserved.
I need to value my physical health more. It’s a blessing, seriously.
Also, I need to reflect more on how unglued I get from the slightest discomfort. I’m not even trying to put myself down; I simply need to reassure myself that I am weak and because of my imperfectness, I, and my body, will fail me. Be okay with that, Alice, it’s life. It’s being human.
Helping with a task like untangling lights and zip tying them to the railing, when done together, takes a fraction of the time and can actually be enjoyable when a warm pair of shoes and a coat are involved. Helping out around this time of year will make the people that always do all the work appreciate you so much.
Just go. Even if you think you’ll be late, the “so what’s the point of going,” feeling is sometimes a lie. Jump when even a small door opens.
I also realize that people are not this black and white. They are not keys on a Steinway or Yamaha. Rather, they are the vastly diverse strings on a glossy wood guitar.
We cling when we are insecure. I remember someone telling me once “when I find something in my house, like a piece of clothing or a toy that I forgot I had in my possession, then I know I have to throw it out or give it away. I wasn’t thinking about it twenty minutes ago or last week – so how could I still need it if I didn’t know I had it?”
This resonates with me. It’s times like these where I feel sobered by the way in which most people in developed and/or westernized countries lead lives consumed by objects, things, junk, whatever it is.
Of course I set aside things that hold sentimental value. That is one part of human nature that is both blatant and natural.
But I never understood why it was attractive in American culture to have a messy basement or attic, buried with “junk.” Why was the style of decorating with undertones of clutter and miscellaneous possessions so pronounced? Does it make the family that chose to decorate that way seem more wealthy because of the amount of things they have? Or more eccentric because they clutter their living spaces?
Mandy, Carrie and I grew up watching Arthur, this 1990s animated show about a family of aardvarks living in a place called El Wood City. I remember one episode where D.W. and Arthur go to visit their grandmother in her big cluttered house. They are super bored until their grandmother takes them to her attic to clean it out. They end up finding a trove of cool things like clothing and accessories from the 1980s and a reel of film that depicts their teachers and parents when they were younger. In the final scene of the episode, one of Arthur’s classmates asks if all grandparents have old, cool things in their attics and basements. Arthur’s grandmother says “Probably more, why don’t you ask them?” This seems to be the didactic message of this episode. While it is charming and not necessarily harmful, it drives home my point even more: American culture advocates for the cluttered, possession-oriented lifestyle and décor.
I am simply wondering why this is. Are any other cultures like this in the world? Are there cultures out there that are the direct opposite?
I have a playlist for anyone who wants good music to listen to, in conclusion of this report.
Lightning Bolt by Jake Bugg – for anyone wanting a joyful song to strut or sing along to
Stay Gold by First Aid Kit – for encouragement or a drive into a sunset
Canyon by Joseph – this song is just good
Blood & Tears by Joseph – this song depicts a healthy relationship, and I like it a lot
Digital Witness by St. Vincent – my friend Sarah showed me this one, and if you are down for a whimsical musical experience, this song is pretty weird, and I like it
Kings & Queens by Urban Cone – this is a good one for New Years Eve, whether you are throwing a party or need a good tune for the drive through the city at night, all to celebrate life with a joyful clatter
After the commercial break, I will go into weather and traffic.
Alice will be signing out now, wire again soon!