It’s New Year’s Eve and the world is gleefully raising a glass to the completion of the old year and the welcoming of a new. It’s a time for celebration and revelry. Like an empty page or a blank canvas, the possibilities are boundless. Let the spirit of a brand new beginning intoxicate and entice.
Celebration on this day is, of course, an expected behavior. Observing all holidays, as well as birthdays, weddings, and other significant or material events is part of what we as humans consider commonplace. It’s an integral part of life.
The mere point of celebration is to pause from our daily routines, our busy lives, and the expectations and demands from others so that we can express joy, appreciation, gratitude, and thanks. We suspend the ordinary so we may spend devoted time with those we care about and rejoice in an occasion by marking it with something special or enjoyable. Sounds lovely to me.
It’s Christmas Eve and the promise of snow is on its way here in Chicago, enveloping our city with soft white pillows and intricately laced trees. What a wonderful gift to look forward to as we put last minute touches on our holiday feasts and festivities. The holidays can bring chaos and stress if we allow them to. Endless shopping and crowded stores, strained bank accounts and pocketbooks, the pressure to attend every holiday party and gathering, and the added stress of travel mixed with unpredictable weather conditions. It can deplete our energy and drain our joy.
Instead, let’s remind ourselves what the spirit of the holiday season is about and eliminate as much of the unnecessary, over-the-top extras that really do little for our mental and spiritual wellness, much less the health of our most important relationships.
Halloween in my family was probably our favorite holiday. Besides the fact that for many years we lived in one of the creepiest houses on the block, a 100-year-old slightly run down Victorian, my mother had a propensity for making it very special.
Every year she would line us girls up outside of her bedroom door. One-by-one we were brought inside where she would quickly conjure up an amazing costume with full makeup. My mother had an entire dressing room filled with old clothes and jewelry she never gave away, so her resources were plenty. We typically never knew what we were going to be unless we had a special request, but it was always different and never something store bought. I’m not sure she even knew what she was going to do before we stepped inside, but as we waited in great anticipation for each big reveal, we were never disappointed.
For all my scary friends and family, I’ve penned a special Halloween poem just for you.
The Proust Questionnaire was originally a parlor game of the late nineteenth century designed to better know the personalities of friends and family. During this time, a teenage Marcel Proust was given a set of questions by his friend Antoinette, the daughter of the president of France. The questionnaire’s notoriety first arose when two documented versions with sets of answers by the French writer were discovered in 1924, a few years after his death. Proust believed that an individual’s answers would reveal their true nature.
The questionnaire regained popularity when French television host Bernard Pivot resurrected it as a basis for his literary interviews. Today, a revised version is regularly published on the back page of Vanity Fair magazine, with answers by various celebrities and public figures.
I’ve read these responses over time and often wondered how I would answer the tough questions myself, but never actually put pen to paper…until now.