Thoughts on books, family, and life in one impressive package.

Hello December Goodbye November

November was not a great month for me. Sure, there were good parts about it, but the lasting impression I have is not a favorable one. I feel like the weather is to blame for a portion of this. Dreary and damp is not my favorite weather pattern. I would rather it snowed every day for the month than to have the constant gloom and threat of rain we have had all month. I know my health issues are also to blame, as I become hyper-aware of every twinge in my body, from the first throb in my head to the first ache pulsing from my buttocks or lower back. I still want to say that it is all in my head and push through the pain, but I am afraid of what would happen if I pushed myself too hard and was wrong about it being in my head. So, I am stuck at a standstill between wanting to do all the things that need doing and doing nothing for fear of the pain. It’s not a good way to live.

The good parts were good though. Connor came home, albeit briefly, which is always nice. I suspect that his visits home will continue to be brief forever, so I aim to enjoy them while I can. Holly and I got to spend more time together with another dance trip at the beginning of the month. Jim and I got to experience 48 hours of empty nesting at the end of the month. Jim’s birthday. Thanksgiving. These were all good things.

I shouldn’t complain. My life is very, very comfortable and better than most people. So what if I didn’t read more than nine books last month? So what if I didn’t finish catching up on past review copies? These are more than first world problems. Connor’s visit did not end on a good note, but that is just how he is these days and has been for the past few years. The health issues are overwhelming right now, yes, but they are not life-threatening. I feel like I have no cause to complain.

The holidays do this to me every year though. I am not sure if I hype them up in my mind or if I fall for the sentimental crap that commercials and TV dish out this time of year. Either way, no matter how much I attempt to change things, I can never escape the sense of melancholy I feel this time of year. We are a tradition-less family. I never could get my kids invested in any holiday traditions that inject meaning into the season. Plus, I cannot help but remember all those years where we were on our own, adrift thanks to the military life. Deployments. Separations. Being alone. They put a bitter taste in my mouth when it comes to the holidays that I can never quite shake no matter how much time passes. There is so much societal pressure for the season to be magical, but especially now that the kids are older, the magic seems to fade a little sooner each year. It starts with Thanksgiving, a meal my children would rather skip, and ends with New Year’s Eve in which Jim and I almost never even make it to midnight anymore, let alone dress up and go somewhere to celebrate. It all feels like one significant effort in futility that makes it difficult for me to enjoy the season.

So, was November a lousy month? No. In all probability, it was perfectly fine. I am sure it is nothing more than the strain of the health issues combined with the stress of single parenting thanks to Jim’s travel schedule on top of the beginnings of holiday depression. Still, only nine books and 3,408 pages read for the month irks me. Not my best. I remain three books away from my Goodreads goal too, something I had hoped to finish in November. Bah. Humbug.

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