I’m sure many of you have a Christmas schedule which outlines all your activities, commitments and outings in great detail. It’s quite possible that it could even give you vertigo. I don’t mean the one caused by heights, but rather that nervous anxiety which comes from an explosive mix of emotions: uncertainty, nostalgia, excitement, fear…
It’s now been a few weeks since the Christmas celebration period kicked off, our cities’ streets filling up with all those colourful lights, eye-catching window displays and stressed-out people running from shop to shop.
I’m one of them.
This year I’ve decided that my home should exude that exciting childlike tenderness we attribute to this time of year. And I wonder, when did Christmas stop being magical for me? I don’t remember, but I don’t want to start 2017 in any other way than celebrating Christmas. I’ll unpack the impossible decorations I stored away in the boxroom; some were even under the bed (my boxroom is small and I share it with 2 neighbours). With these objects now in my hands, I feel invaded by the Christmas spirit…well, almost. Not completely, so I decide to listen to a Christmas carol. They always cheer me up and make me emotional (I cry easily).
And so, while Santa is busy loading up his sleigh, the days go by…and it’s already Christmas Eve. Or is it New Year’s Eve?
I’m sitting at a table which is heaving under the delicious feast my loved ones and I have painstakingly prepared; I haven’t seen those relatives in months, but I really value them. Honestly, I like them enough to want to spend these last days of December with them every year.
However, sometimes I’d like to be far away. Not too far, but far enough not to be here with them, yet again. I think about New York. What must Christmas be like there? And New Year? I imagine myself surrounded by street artists in Times Square, devouring a hot dog in the company of fun strangers. And why New York? It could be Mexico City, Miami, Istanbul, Florence, Milan or Amsterdam. Yes, it could be…
A crunching sound makes me snap out of my daydreams; it’s my mother-in-law battling with a piece of crab. She’s brave: she’s not from a coastal city and isn’t a big fan of seafood, but she’s having a go! My father is in high spirits; I don’t know when it started but now there’s no stopping him. He’s singing an unintelligible melody accompanied by a spoon, which he’s scraping up and down the grooves of a bottle of anise liqueur, as if it were an instrument. He’s a true artist; to me, anyway. Because in spite of his weak voice and lack of musical talent, he puts his heart into it.
I’m now thinking about my wishes for this year; I want them to be projects, to shape them. I want to plan my trips, stay in lovely hotels, discover every part of the cities I dream of visiting. I also want to keep writing and keep learning from everything that happens to me.
And it’s got to that point where I realise that every minute is an opportunity and a gift: every one of those outlandish moments surrounded by the people who are important to me (perhaps some more than others) must have an effect on me. And isn’t that what life is? Is there life in everything around us, then? Yes, of course there is.
Only sometimes, we stupidly watch it pass us by, instead of letting it happen through us.
To 2017, friends; a year full of life.