There’s not much time left until Christmas. It will go by very quickly though. Looking at the Facebook news feed, I get the distinct feeling people are ready for this to be over. People are either extremely tired or they are frantically shopping. Well, maybe they’re just tired of shopping.
It reminds me of what it’s like to take a road trip, the busyness of preparing for the trip, running around making sure you didn’t forget anything. Is everything packed? Did I give the key to the neighbor? Are all of the important items checked off my to do list? (it’s not even possible to complete all of them) Should I check my email one more time? Is the iron off? Oh yeah, I don’t have an iron. Okay, I think it’s time to get in the car.
Pulling out of the driveway, I’m going over the mental list in high speed, before I’ve driven too far to go back and get whatever it is I’ve forgotten. Once I’m on the road for a little while, this restful peace sets in. Ah, the blissful haven between life’s pandemonium and the inescapable reality of a final destination.
As I dream of the adventures, the gentle rocking motion of the Infiniti sleigh is soothing to me and I’m trying to adjust the volume of the radio. Turn, turn, turn… to no avail. Eventually I’ll replace the shocks and get the volume knob fixed… or maybe not. The sleigh has character and it makes me smile. Not because it’s been paid off for 8 years, because it’s my happy place. The sleigh takes me to wonderful places and the unexplored universe of reckless abandon, a place once called home to someone.
I will be in the car for many hours. I have my journal and camera ready for action. What great adventures will I find? On a trip to Austin with Amy and my boys a few months ago, whenever we saw something interesting, we wrote down the exit number, then stopped at all of them on the way back home. The trip home took 3 times longer and was 100 times more fun. What did we see?
I think back to the many road trips I have taken over the past several years. The tiring anticipation of an arrival. Will it be the ‘getaway’ I expected and needed? As I wonder if it was worth going at all, the moment finally comes. Arrival.
I’m here, the red push pin and the pulsing blue dot have finally come together. For a brief moment, the purple cloud of excitement is overwhelming. As quickly as it came, the cloud dissipates and reality sets it. My chaotic life has just moved to a new location. Plug in the computer, check email, unpack and get out the time-away to do list. Did I turn off the iron? No, because I don’t have one. Maybe I should get one so I can check to see if it’s turned off.
Why does a road trip remind me of Christmas? People are scurrying around trying to accomplish all of the last minute details to create their perfect Christmas experience. What did they forget? Before they know it, Christmas day is here. Did they find any moments of tranquility or fulfillment? Did they find their happy place?
I knew Christmas was coming and at some point, I did find a place of contentment and joy. Now it’s so close, I’m apprehensive and too busy to enjoy it. What will Christmas day bring? Happiness? Loneliness? Joy? Sadness? I don’t know the answer to that question.
I have learned something about Christmas this year though, it’s about the journey, not the destination. The fantasies and lofty expectations of Christmas are an unavoidable let down. I plan to enjoy the journey when I can and embrace the Christmas chaos when I have to. I will not get caught up in the commercialism of Christmas, as it creates a false sense of pleasure, and in end producing a massive plunge into a materialistic despair.
I love the true meaning of Christmas and I hope to experience the joy of the day, but honestly? I’m ready for it to be over.