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Holiday Spirit and Determined Optimism
Posted Dec 8, 2010 - 10:59:40

Snowy FieldI love this time of the year, I have to admit it. There's something about the freshness of winter, the holiday lights, the ground covered in snow... well - it's just nice. It makes me feel warm inside, even when the temperature is getting scarily low.

Admittedly I haven't put up our own Christmas Lights or our little tree. I hope to do so in the next few days, but I just have been a bit too busy with work these days to get around to it. To be fair, I did hang most of my parent's outdoor Christmas lights over Thanksgiving - so it's not like I haven't put any time in.

I like to think of myself as a "determined optimist" - which means I've made a personal decision to be optimistic, no matter what. It's not exactly an easy thing to do, but it's how I've survived. It was a decision I made many years ago...

...right around the holidays in fact.

There was a year where Christmas didn't feel like Christmas in my early twenties. Yes, we can get over the fact that neither myself nor my immediate family are Christians - but we still do (what is effectively a secular) Christmas. It's always made me feel happy inside and excited, right up until the year it didn't.

I was in a darker place at the time. I was depressed (with a little "d" to be clear) and frankly wallowing a bit. It was then that I decided I didn't want to feel like that anymore, and decided that dwelling in it wasn't going to make any of the bad things in my life any lick better. I went back to a simple mantra that I had come up with years prior, but had not wholly embraced: You cannot change what has happened, you can only move forward from where you are now.

With that I felt lighter. I stopped carrying a lot of my emotional baggage, and started moving forward.

Ever since then, no matter what was happening in my life, Christmas felt like Christmas again. So I choose to embrace the holiday spirit. Cynicism and Negativity has a weight to me that I don't want to carry. Hell, I ended up dropping quite a few people from my life because I couldn't stomach being around them anymore.

Jaded, negative wallowers be damned, I've embraced optimism - and frankly, you should too. Trust me, life is a lot more fun when you do.
- Traegorn

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Too true, and if I could add one other thing..
For the love of the gods if you've got problems TALK ABOUT THEM.

I've been dreading holidays for years due to some self-generated angst about my extended family.  This Thanksgiving though, I had a good chat with my brother over burgers and unloaded my frustration and found he understood my position completely.  Being able to talk about it has helped me quite a bit, I'm still not quite excited for Christmas but I'm not openly dreading it or trying to come up with fake excuses to skip out like in years past.

So seriously yeah, talking, it works.

Trae Dorn
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