I wasn’t in the Christmas spirit this season. The holiday lights of Medellín helped, but they weren’t enough.
Still a New Yorker at heart, the ideal way I feel the holiday spirit is by window shopping in the cold of Manhattan, smelling the clichéd chestnuts roasting from the corner vendors. I have nut allergies and never eat them mind you, but the smell has entered my psyche and signifies Christmas. Without this unique combination of sensory input, the holidays don’t really exist.
Getting into the holiday spirit was equally difficult when I lived in Los Angeles and Atlanta. Not so tough when I lived in Barcelona (which, despite the Mediterranean locale gets cold enough). Temperature seems to be a strong influencer.
This holiday season in Colombia was especially different and difficult for me. Aside from the balmy 70°F temperature thing, Christmas represents family, in all its permutations. While I’ve grown accustomed to the distance from my family and friends, my past holidays abroad I enjoyed the family or friends of a significant other. I was alone this season.
No, I wasn’t depressed. I spent this holiday meditating. Even beyond the holidays, the past 15 months have been difficult and uncomfortable. Allergies I’ve had since I was a kid flared for no apparent reason. New sensitivities developed. Of course, the reasons were psychosomatic. My mind was creating an uncomfortable reality. I didn’t know why or how to make it stop. Being comfortable (or not) in one’s own skin, for me became literal and intense.
Spending the holidays alone was exactly how I needed to spend it. Bit-by-bit answers and healing have been coming. I’ve been able to wrap up my meditative/therapeutic/psychoanalytical processing and prepare myself for the next steps, whatever they may be and however they may come. I’m optimistic about what lay ahead. These revelations (which I prefer to resolutions) will trickle out as the year progresses.
Despite my personal solitude, I hope you had a holiday season filled with love, family, friends and good food. Here’s wishing you a Happy New Year.
Reflections on Mortality
The recent deaths of two contemporaries added a melancholic, mortal edge to my reflections. Embarking on a happy new year is difficult when focused on death and mortality. I’m almost 56 and don’t feel I have significant accomplishments. No, I don’t count living in Colombia. Frankly, few of the things I’ve done make my personal list of accomplishments. They’re just things I’ve done while wanting or waiting to do something else. Of course, my measuring stick is distorted. One thing I know I’ve always done wrong is compare myself to others. That has been especially self-damaging, because I have never been traditional … or normal! I’ve always lived a different rhythm, mistakenly comparing myself to those who lived in 4/4 time.
Fortunately, I’m in good health. I may have another 56 years with which to make an impact on the world measured by my own unique standards. I’m starting the new year right.
I’ve admitted in past posts than my relocation to Colombia was running away from my life. Finally, with this realization and the knowledge that I can’t escape my own mind, I can stop running those laps inside my head. I’m making my life stand in Colombia. Wow, that’s an empowering sentence. Now let’s see how my previously mis-spent energy can be put to constructive use.
New Year Goals and Resolutions
As I alluded to above, I don’t do much by way of resolutions.
Goals I have a plenty. Here’s one I’m willing to share: my dance goal is that wherever I’m dancing, to whatever rhythm it might be, I want folks to look and say, Damn, that guy can dance! (in whatever language they happen to speak!)
There might just be on Colombia extended sojourns to Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Argentina where I embark on intensive studies of salsa, bachata and more tango. Who knows what’s in store.
Another goal is to post on this site much more frequently, i.e. weekly! I want to build on Colombia into the definitive site on Colombia and its lifestyle and culture (exploratory jaunts to other countries notwithstanding).
I’m herewith promising to post more regularly, and of course, not just on my life and adventures (or mis-adventures).
In conclusion, life is good and getting better!
Happy New Year and all the best to you and yours from me in Colombia.