Christmas card time. Time for me to get my butt in gear and actually get the damn things out on time. And then I have to worry about my Jewish relatives and whether my cards are non-denominational enough to be appropriate. Of course, I don’t guess that matters right now since my stamps are the Madonna and baby ones the post office is selling now. I kind of forgot about my Jewish relatives when I was buying them…
And programs to write… blah. This one is “soooo easy! Don’t worry about it…” Only mine, instead of drawing a pretty curve like it’s supposed to, draws a pretty curve and all sorts of random junk hanging from it. So I go to the professor who says, “I’ve NEVER seen that before. That shouldn’t happen” and who follows everything up with “Well, you have bad code.” This is my last program… I should be thankful.
Exams to take. Only one in-class for me this semester, and that one doesn’t seem to be too bad. It’s mostly an essay test, and we can prepare the answer before the exam. WOO HOO!! The others are all take-home, which excites me greatly. I always do better when I don’t have the pressures of time.
And then, once that is all over and done with, I’ll have time. Time to reflect and think and decide. To decide what I REALLY want to do with my life for sure. To decide once and for all whether I can forgive myself for not choosing the more lucrative route. My dad has always complained about not having enough money, about how money = success, about how we don’t have money to go out to dinner, even though we do. So the matter is academic to everyone else — screw the money and do what you love. But it’s a hard thing to forget about when you’ve had that banged into your head your whole life. About how my family hasn’t enough money, although we have enough money to allow my stepmom to stay home with my brother for much of his life and to send me to college (albeit in-state) with the tiniest of loans for the first two years, and to buy a very expensive SUV for my dad. My dad sees our friends who are about to buy a house for $400K and he wants to live that life. But I think I’m like my dad — “I’m a peasant, I come from peasant stock.” That’s what he always says, but I guess it’s more an excuse for his “lack of success” in his eyes. He’s got plenty of ancestors who were wealthy — his mother’s family all are well-to-do. He sees his cousins and other distant relatives retiring at his age with a nice chunk o’ change to see them through life.
And all of this Scrooge-like miserly conduct has rubbed off on me. I’m fairly chinchy with my money, although I have more money than a lot of friends that I know. And I complain about money all the time, when I have no cause to. I have this need to save as much of it as I can, to try my best to keep my bank account at the level it is now. I have to learn not to worry so much… to take to heart that “love is all you need.” Because that’s what life boils down to in the end… it doesn’t matter how much money you have when you die unless you do something great with it, like leave all of it to a children’s fund or something like that. People get remembered for their generosity and their love for their fellow human, not for how much money they could stroke a check for.
So this is what I have to keep in mind, especially during this time of giving and charity. That’s what Christmas is all about — but it’s not just the giving of presents but the giving of yourself. That’s why it doesn’t matter how much you spend on a person, you are also giving a little bit of yourself with the gift. A $5 present that really touches the recipient and shows that you have thought long and hard about the person is giving a bit of yourself, and is more meaningful than an expensive present that just looks pretty.
And I did not mean to wax philosophical at all today — there were so many other things I wanted to talk about. It seems right now I have so much to get out of my head onto paper or onto this electronic medium. It’s kind of crazy…. :o)
All of this town is decked out for the holidays. That’s one thing I love about Williamsburg. This town doesn’t so much go in for the gaudy decorations, like the tinsel shapes hanging from lightposts in the parking lots of shopping centers. Instead, the stores put a lot of thought in their decorations and use fir boughs and red ribbons and general tastefulness and elegance. Even the college gets decked out — the buildings have wreaths and bows over the entrances. Everything is just so beautiful and elegant. The only thing that could make it better is a little snow dusting all the edges of things.
“in the meadow we can build a snowman… and pretend that he is parson brown… he’ll say are you married we’ll say no man… but you can do the job when you’re in town…”
Hot chocolate and ginger cookies and cinnamon floating on the breeze, christmas carols and the smell of pine and fires warming up the homes, christmas trees in the windows of houses and icicle lights twinkling from the eaves…
What about this time of year is there NOT to like?