A Christmas cynic reborn


A bit like Russell Brand, I’ve never really liked Christmas. I’ve never subscribed to enforced happiness, scheduled smiling or jingoistic joviality. But this year will be different because life is different.

Now I recognise this un-holiday-like demeanour might have something to do with my parents breaking up one Christmas Day when I was five. Or my mother’s insistence that Christmas Day has never been that much fun since her own mother died in 1986 when I was 13 years old.

It probably also doesn’t help that being a non-mother, and having a brother who is an un-father, our Christmas Days in Brisbane generally don’t involve lots of smiley, manic children. No, they generally involve lots of vodka and a desire for the day to be over.

This year, especially, there seems little to celebrate and I’m sure I’m not the only person who is more than ready to say a big fat sayonara to 2012 in less than two weeks’ time.

Although, to not sound like too much of a killjoy, there have been a number of happy events this year, such as the fact that I somehow managed to reach 40 and my seismic attitude-shift when it comes to men and to love, but there has also been some, well, some serious shit take place.

As the year has progressed, there have been more and more instances of relationships coming to an end. Now statistically (thanks Australian Bureau of Statistics) I am now firmly in the bracket of median-aged divorces but it still sucks. Indeed, I said to my friend yesterday that we had reached the age of divorce, and of dying parents. She thanked me for being so bloody uplifting and for generally ruining her day.

I don’t know whether it is a blessing or a curse that my singledom has outlasted many of these relationships, which may well go to show that the only person I’ve ever made a long-term commitment too is me. I guess that makes me a bit of a wanker – literally and figuratively.

In fact, perhaps I’ve never been married because a) no one has asked me; b) I’ve got tattoos and I read this week that women with tattoos will never “win” a husband (I didn’t realise it was a competition – another mis-step obviously); c) I don’t have a “putting up with bullshit” gene, something that would’ve have been vital if I’d got hitched to any of my former boyfriends; d) I have exceptionally poor taste in men.

Also, to continue the yuletide joy this year some people I knew decided they didn’t want to be here anymore and I had news (not about me) that would change everything. News which broke my heart, all of our hearts, into tiny pieces.

But such a situation, I learned, makes you realise what is important and what is blatantly not. It makes you reassess your relationships with your family, with your friends and even with your boss. Indeed, it as times like this that you learn who deserves to belong in your life, those people who have been supportive and kind beyond words , and those who you are quite happy to resign to the periphery of it because deep down you knew the relationship was superficial and devoid of any true meaning at all.

It certainly helps to de-clutter your life and your thinking, which surprisingly has been a blessing or perhaps a by-product of a life much changed from just a few months before. But most of all, it makes you realise that one of the greatest loves there will ever be is the one between a mother and her children. And vice versa. I don’t need to be a mother to understand that.

That is why this year, more than any other, I will enjoy Christmas. I will smile and I will laugh and I will enjoy my family and my mum. Life really is too short to do otherwise.

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