Today is Christmas here where I live.
And while I’m not particularly given to celebrating that holiday, it does occur to me that it makes sense today to make note of a gift that I’ve given to myself. Specifically, that I’ve given myself the realization of the importance of the idea of “make merry”.
It’s a phrase we tend to associate with these holidays. But I’ve come to realize that the phrase is much more profound and meaningful than its holiday use may suggest.
Implicit in this phrase is the idea that “merriment” is something that is made. In other words, merriment simply doesn’t occur by itself. It’s something that requires conscious actions for it to come about.
As I emerge from this most recent period of crisis, one thing that I’ve come to realize is that I can no longer simply let my health and happiness take care of themselves. I’ve been lucky thus far that my physical health has been such that I haven’t had to put much focus or effort into minding it but still have been relatively healthy. And as regards happiness: well, I was raised such that making that a priority was viewed as frivolous. You prioritize your work and school. You take your happiness wherever you can find it.
Now though, I’ve realized that I can’t let these things take care of themselves. Part of it is aging: my physical health just doesn’t take care of itself as well as it did when I was younger. Part of it too is I’ve realized that they don’t really take care of themselves. And in that regard, this fall I got a glimpse of what it can look like when these don’t take care of themselves. And, I’ve learned from my father’s family what the true risks are if my health and happiness all go wrong. As I’ve said “I want to live”. And I now know that failing to take care of my health and happiness runs a real risk to my life.
And so I’ve started a program of actively focusing on my health and happiness. In essence, I’ve come to realize that I really must make merry.
This isn’t going to ever be done. This is something that I’m going to be doing now every day for the rest of my life. I accept that now.
But it makes me hopeful. I feel like I have a direction in ways I’ve been lacking.
And so, on this holiday, I’m actually quite thankful that I’ve come to understand the true meaning and importance of “make merry”. Now it’s a matter of actually doing it. Every day. For the rest of my (hopefully long) life.