Like many holidays, I prefer to spend them in the company of my dogs. For that I am thankful. And every year I am besieged by invitations to attend multiple functions, every one of which I will decline. That should be the end of it, right?
Then come the attempts to “guilt” me into attending. Sometimes, the follow up invitations get downright scary as I am forced to listen to this host or that one pull out all the stops in trying to coerce my attendance. Sometimes I’m threatened with the end of a friendship over my inclination to stay home. Other relationships get decidedly chilly after I must decline numerous times before they give up trying.
It hasn’t always been so, but I find as I grow older, my introvert tendencies become more pronounced. And I’m okay with that.
Apparently, not so much others.
Yes, holidays are definitely times to draw your family — blood related or otherwise — near to celebrate. It took many seasons for me to remain steadfast in my choice to cocoon during these times each year. I often wonder if the invitations become ever more desperate and shrill because so many people are truly afraid of being alone themselves. This I find to be true in most cases. Yes, we humans are “social” animals, but who gets to define what “social” means to each of us?
I most always choose alone time over excruciating hours spent in the presence of people I don’t know. Other people’s homes tax introverts so much more than a fete held, say, in a restaurant where we can quietly excuse ourselves after an hour or so and head home to recuperate. People often mistake my jocular demeanor for extroversion, when it’s really an act that was created out of necessity over the years. A survival skill.
Eventually, my close friends understand and, while they still issue invitations, they seem to know already that I will find a way to beg off, for they no longer pursue it as if their lives depend on it.
My holiday will consist of several long walks, both with my dogs and without, where I can calmly draw peace around my shoulders like a favorite quilt, and thank the universe for its blessing of life. I have a stack of books I’m excited to read, and a few films I will watch while nestled on the bed with three of the best friends a person could hope for: my pups.
As dark falls much earlier in the day, candles will be lit and I may prepare a modest meal to be eaten. I will count the blessings this life has given, the lessons I’ve learned and the ones I have yet to learn. I will give thanks to our mother, the earth, and her willingness to allow us to exist at this time in history. Most importantly, though, I will lay the foundation for the remainder of this year, when the winter solstice invites us to embrace death so that we might be reborn in the spring.
It heals me to exist in a place where I can hear the sound of my own heart beating, the rhythm of breath. I will open my spirit to Source so that I may continue to grow.
And give thanks for my brothers and sisters floating with me through the cosmos on this fragile sphere we call home.