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29 December 2010

The Best Memories Are Those That Are Never Made?

What an awful title, eh? To that I say welcome, Dr. Blog Reader! Please have a steno pad and pencil handy as I plop onto your psychiatrist couch and spill my guts and invite your feedback.

I've had a problem with Christmas ever since I was a very little lad. Actually, I don't have a problem with Christmas itself; it's post-Christmas that gives me problems (but if I anticipate the post-Christmas blues in time, I can get an early start, to the chagrin of those closest to me).

My family had a perfect Christmas this year (well, I did, at least). It was so over-the-top good that when I realized it had passed, it was emotionally wrenching. Now it exists only etched in my memory and in the memories of my family and friends.

I'm sure this is very immature, but I sometimes tend to lean toward the sentiment that good memories are generally bad things, because if they're good enough, they're going to make you very sad in the future. And I'm not sure if this kind of sadness is of a sort that's good, as people typically make it out to be.

For all I know, I invented this idea. I've never had anyone talk to me about it. Anyone who thinks about this kind of thing is probably smart enough to avoid talking about it. Except for me, I suppose.

I'm obviously not talking about being sorrowful at Christmas over the birth of Jesus Christ. I'm also not talking about some kind of regret that comes from one not receiving what he wants as a gift. I'm talking about the personal amazing, warm, happy memories of Christmas past -- in my case, the ones with my family, both when I was a child and now with my own wife and children -- that seem to bring sadness to the surface after all is said and done.

Now, obviously, the idea that one shouldn't make good memories would mean that if we really wanted to avoid sadness at all costs, we'd never own a dog, we wouldn't buy our mom a Christmas present, we wouldn't play ball with our son, we'd avoid going roller skating with our daughter, we definitely wouldn't gaze out over an ocean sunset with our spouse, etc. And that would make for a really boring and sad life. So for me, reason always wins the battle, but not without the other part going down swinging (the part of me that says, "Avoid happy stuff at all costs!").

Surely I'm not the only semi-rational person who's struggled with this, am I? I suppose it could be argued that this isn't a rational thought process, but I think I'd argue that it's highly rational and logical to wrestle with it. We just need to be careful and deliberate about which side we come down on.

The pessimist in me says that there will never be another Christmas as magical as 2010. The realist says, "If it happened in 2010, there's nothing to prevent it from being even better in 2011."


M said...

I'm that person, that at Christmas time, hates Christmas music unless it's the old good stuff, like Frank Sanatra... so I can't say that I feel your pain with being sad that Christmas is over... but I will say that as our kids get older (something I never realized until I had one) is that the "WOW" factor with their faces lighting up brighter than the Christmas tree when they open their gifts, is suddenly gone. It's now (as she is almost 15) a momentary... "Hey that's awesome" and then it's gone. Only to be put on her dresser for the next several months, until she rediscovers it. I'm not saying that presents are the "key" to a great Christmas, because they are not. I am saying that sometimes I'd like for my kid to at least give me a fake "WOOOOOOW" that lasts for several days!! :)

Dean Lusk said...

I follow. I don't even think you're a horrible person for talking about gifts for our kids at Christmas. :)

What you've said is one thing that adds to the difficulty of post-Christmas for me. I realize that each successive year, my kids will lose a little of the excitement from the previous year. It makes the "Hey, they're growing up" realization very stark.

Just trying not to be a wet blanket to my family. I'm doing better this year than last, I think. :-)

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