*Warning: Naughty language ahead!
At no other time of the year is the amount of personal change in your life as evident as it is during the holidays.
Whether that change is good, bad or indifferent, it’s all hard to ignore when we enter the nostalgia of the holiday festivities. We face a bombardment of memories from times gone by, and the unrestrained confrontation of our current situations. Being in your 30’s seems to do nothing but add to that; as that, our lives seem to be a never ending reflection and analyzation at this age.
Here are six reasons why:
Some of the key players are missing.
Probably the most obvious difference for most during this time of year is the absence of people who provided a role in making those early holidays nostalgic. Or, the absence of a loved one you shared your own personal holidays with over recent years. This realization is the hardest to cope with during these times.
It is the elephant in the room—the ghostly visions of people from another place and time.
You forget about a lot of these things throughout the rest of the year because of all the distractions in your life, but they’re always right there waiting for you to relive during the holidays. You remember the smell of grandma’s french toast, the excitement of a parent watching you unwrap gifts, or maybe that ornament you used to have that signified you were once not alone. They all haunt you, and you struggle to be as excited as you once were. You wonder if things will ever be the same; knowing they won’t. The only thing you can possibly reconcile to make it better is that our parents and grandparents, too, must have had people in their lives that made their holidays special before we came along. So maybe this is just a transition period to better holidays down the road? The time may have just come for us to fill roles, and start new traditions and memories of our own.
No longer the little kids who were once the focal point of everything this time of year, a lot of the holiday spirit can seem artificial now. No one has to pretend to be Santa, the presents don’t magically appear the day of, the logistics just aren’t there to decorate as a family, your mom doesn’t even take the time to take the pie out of the store box, and gift cards seem to be the least (and most common) thing anyone is willing to get for you.
Sadly, we’ve fallen into the ‘you’ve seen this all before’ age where no one really puts forth an effort to make things special these days. But, the thing is, at age 30 that’s all we really want.
What we want more than anything is just a chance to go back and relive some of our childhood, and have things be pretend and carefree and magical again. To go back to a time when people planned for a whole year for an event worth videotaping on a VCR camcorder. To just laugh, play and eat, and hear ridiculous imaginary stories while sipping hot chocolate minus the worry about how many empty calories are in a marshmallow.
We’re tired of spending the other 300 and some odd days adulting. We don’t want to adult anymore.
Buying presents is incredibly stressful.
It used to be your parents got their own stuff, and then you made stuff for them in school, and then chocolates and some cheap earrings made a nice gift for your teenage girlfriend, and then?
Well, now you’re f*cking out of original ideas even with the help of Pinterest and Etsy. Also how much you spent before didn’t really matter because you weren’t analyzing the cost of everything in your life. Whereas now you have a budget that coincides with each person’s likely disposable income so that you don’t create a negative gift giving ratio, or, spend all of your mortgage/rent money on someone else. And God help you if you have someone who is incredibly thoughtful or artistically talented in your family. You’re pretty much always going to look like sh*t then.
It’s just absolutely terrible trying to buy gifts for people you’ve been giving to for 20 odd years; especially, since now you’re on your own and more is expected from you.
Not to mention, if you’re dating someone, there’s a whole different set of expectations this time of year. And, you do everything in your power not to have anything remotely close to a small box lying around because you know you’re probably already letting them down by not having one, and there’s no need to dig a deeper hole for yourself. Man, do you envy the families that have decided to no longer give gifts and just spend time together or do something charitable. Too bad someone would always f*ck that up in yours and get you ‘just a little something’ to make you feel like a selfish bastard. Yay holidays.
However, socks are an awesome gift!
Remember when grandma used to always throw in a random pair of socks as a gift, and you were always like wtf granny? Not anymore. Socks at one point did seem pretty stupid and thoughtless in comparison to the GI-Joe’s and Easy Bake Ovens of the world. After all, we had people—our parents—who bought socks for us all the time, and really had no use for anything other than your basic white calf sock.
Now? Well, who has the time to buy socks these days? And it seems like you need a different pair for a million different occasions. There’s the workout sock, the business casual sock, the fancy, I where this shit once a year sock, the sporting event sock, and then the winter and summer version of all of the above, and many others as well. And, some of those damn things cost like $20 a pair. So, pretty much because we don’t take the time to buy new ones or because we don’t want to spend money, our sock collections probably start to look like mine where each sock tries to be an all-in-one, getting rather worn and useless in the process. You just hope no one notices you’re wearing toe socks at work half the time.
I hereby declare socks acceptable gifts hence forth!
Hey, wasn’t this a holiday?
You can’t help it, but sometimes all you think about is that this is one of your only days off a year, and you’re spending it driving all around the country spending money on stuff that you’re not even sure if anyone will like or need. You need to be doing a million different things around the house, but instead you volunteered to help wash someone else’s dishes because no one seems to use anything that’s dishwasher safe this time of year.
You can’t just relax and stay for a while, because your dog’s daycare only has an hour-long window to come pick them up and you don’t want to pay for an extra day on top of everything else. You want to relax. You planned to relax, but you forgot how much of a f*cking nightmare christmas shopping and holiday traffic are. I mean it’d be great if you could just eat and get drunk and watch sports or play cards with the family, but someone’s baby is always sleeping and there’s no Uber in the god awful suburbs your family moved to. The holidays have become less vacation and more ‘how long can I make it’ and you hate yourself for not being able to enjoy it all.
It’s up to you.
I kind of eluded to this before, but despite all these complaints we have now about how the holidays aren’t what they used to be, we have the power now to make them what we want to be. Despite everyone being scattered across the country we can now choose to be there for someone else, as others used to do so for us. We can create new traditions that serve a greater purpose than the old ones, and that possibly bring cheer to those less fortunate than ourselves. We can communicate to others what we want, and maybe find out that that is what they want as well. Creating less stress in everyone’s lives. We can choose to create the magic ourselves instead of waiting, or wishing, someone else would do it. We can do anything we want to do except to expect others to want that for us. It may not be easy reliving the past or dealing with how things have changed, but we are given a gift everyday; it will always be the present.
Author: General Parks
Editor: Caitlin Oriel
Image: Sheila Sund/Flickr