There’s excitement in the air! And it’s not because college and professional football are back… well, maybe just a touch of that (HOOK ‘EM HORNS AND PURO PINCHE COWBOYS ALV!!!), heh, but there’s excitement around me because over this past weekend, I noticed something. The days are getting shorter now! Heck, this Saturday marks the halfway point of the month. Really? September, you just got here and now you’re out? Wow. I kinda surprised myself at noting that right now, but yes! Summer is on its way out and fall is on its way in. I couldn’t be any happier about it. For as much as I love the dry heat here in El Paso, I’m just about over the 90+ degree temperatures and I’m ready for things to cool back down to the 80s, 70s, and 60s for highs. Along with that, comes the even shorter days and with the time change (which honestly I think has run its course now as a thing) that means that it’s gonna get super dark by 5pm. You have no idea how happy this makes me. For as much as I am an early bird as that’s how my life schedule dictates things, I love the quietness and solitude of the night. The peace that the night brings me is something that I miss from time to time. Then again, I do get that same feeling when I give myself the time to head to my room, close the door, and just let my mind wander in the dark since I have my blackout curtains permanently drawn over my bedroom window.
The other thing that the fall and winter brings is the holidays. Man, I LOVE the holiday season! Now, those that know me know that I don’t decorate for anything. I think it’s kinda silly if you want me to be honest, but I love the moments that Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year brings. I thought about this when talking with a friend of mine the other day and I brought it up to another friend yesterday. I wanted their take on the matter because I always seem to get a mixed bag of reactions when I ask about the end of November to the beginning of January. Some people hate it and associate it with lost loves, broken hearts, family that they hate, or the fact that people make it a point to be just a little happier in their lives. Then I get the people who go full on Will Ferrell in Elf excited about it decorating everything in sight. I’m down with the excitement, but not the decorating, so I tend to lean more towards the latter. Now, the funny part about it all is that over the years, I’ve actually yearned to be alone during the holidays. Now wait a minute, don’t get me wrong here, but I’ve honestly fallen in love with the personal celebrations I’ve turned into customs for me.
It all started around the passing of my mother 10 years ago, actually. I don’t remember specifics, but I do remember that first thanksgiving without her. My dad and I were just going to hang out and watch football, but my sister stopped by and brought us food from her in-laws party. Personally, I thought this was strange because it felt like we were some sort of charity case getting plates of food from strangers. I didn’t feel all too comfortable feeling helpless like that, and it’s not that we didn’t have any money for a thanksgiving meal; it’s just that we were only a few months out of losing my mom and we really didn’t care too much about it. I don’t remember Christmas too much, nor New Year’s Eve either, but I’m sure that I spent them either alone or with my dad. The following years, my sister did the same charity case act with us and I hated it each time, but slowly, my dad was either working or would just skip out of town and spend holidays and such in Vegas so that would leave me to my own devices and that’s when I came up with my traditions.
One thanksgiving, I decided to make myself a thanksgiving dinner so that I wouldn’t deal with the annoyance of the charity case feeling and I made myself some turkey breast, a beer ham, and all the fixings. It was awesome. So awesome, as a matter of fact, that I continue that tradition to this day. And, in case you didn’t know, I can cook meals like you read about so it’s not like a person has to pray after you eat due to food quality! My birthday falls in between thanksgiving and Christmas, and dad would bail then too sometimes, so I started to celebrate birthdays my own way too. Usually I lay low and maybe go to a favorite restaurant and follow that up with a quiet evening of favorite movies at my house. Christmas has become an evolving thing in its own right too. We’ve always gotten together at my grandparents’ house on Christmas Eve, so I do that for a while, then for the past few years, I’ve made it to midnight Mass at my parish. That gives me Christmas day to either see my dad, my bonus mom, and my sister/brother in law/nephews for a bit or just stay home and get my not-so-traditional-Christmas movie marathon going (which is what I prefer to do honestly). That’s probably my favorite day ever. I stay indoors, make hot chocolate and/or coffee, turn my Charlie Brown Christmas Tree on (my only Christmas decoration by the way), and sit back the whole day watching movies that happen either during Christmas time or are those not so traditional Christmas movies that people give you looks for until you remind them that they are in fact Christmas movies. I love it! It’s my way of being festive. Just thinking about that makes me happy. I can’t wait! 105 days and counting as of the writing of this blog! The following week brings New Year’s Eve which I have really solidified a tradition there too. I would usually spend that night with my parents hanging out watching the NYE shows on the national networks, but one year, my girlfriend at the time, insisted that we go to a friend of hers house and spend the time there. I hated the idea of it because I was only slightly acquainted with this friend of hers and as my INFJ traits dictate, I hate being around random strangers. Going to a stranger’s house just incites a panic attack, and I have felt super awkward when people have brought complete strangers over to my house. The idea of it is just so insane to me. BUT, I digress; I did it because that’s who I am as a person anyway. I always put others before me, and yes even though I enjoyed my time there, I would have rather been at home having a nice quiet time. In any event, again after the passing of my mom, most of the time I would find myself marking the new year alone, so I decided to come up with a party for myself. I’m not a big fan of pizza, but I figured that ordering one would solve the food issue, and continuing to watch the network shows would work if I had my alcohol handy. That way, I could still enjoy a few beers with my pizza and when midnight came along, I could pop a bottle of champagne and party along. I had such a great time doing that that some of my friends have even joined me a few of those years, and I’ve even added the celebration from Las Vegas to the mix so I still feel like I’m partying with people, just by myself in the comfort of my own space. Hahaha! That eliminates any chance of any harm coming to me in the form of a car wreck, or spending too much money at a bar for the same amount or less of beer and champagne. I do it smarter, in my opinion!
So, here we are my friends. 47 days until the time falls back an hour and we get longer nights, 72 days until Thanksgiving, 105 days until Christmas, and 111 days until New Year’s Eve. I’m excited already!