For the past 25 years I have sent out Christmas cards to a bunch of people. The list changes year by year but one thing remains constant; a desire to keep the lines of communication open outside the constraints of social media.
This year’s card features a photo of me taken by my friend Mark Hughes. I asked him to simply take a picture of me “as I am” and so he snapped a photo of me outside the Starbucks in my neighbourhood. I was enjoying a delicious Caramel Brulée Latte in my gym clothes.
I didn’t do a newsletter this year
For the past 10 years I have also sent out a Christmas newsletter to let everyone know what I’ve been up to and how I’m doing. It’s a total vanity project that probably hasn’t aged well with time but it’s a fun excuse to stay engaged with my past in journalism and desktop publishing.
I’ve always loved putting together newspapers and other forms of printed media and I like that my newsletter has outlasted just about every print publication I have contributed to.
However, this year I didn’t really have anything to say so I didn’t bother sending one out. I’m not sure there’s much to say except that I’m doing better than ever and I’m at a place of great peace and contentment. I wish to move away from “public life” and blend into the wallpaper of a normal middle class life although I don’t think I’ll ever fully integrate into middle class life and culture. Nor do I want to.
That being said, I might send out newsletters in future years. If I feel like it.
In the past Christmas has been a rather painful reminder of my exclusion from family and that sort of connection. However, I haven’t felt that in years now.
In recent years I have gained complete control and agency over my life. I have entered a new career that I thought would be difficult but I have ended up mastering to some degree. I am happier and healthier than ever and I want for nothing. I will never again experience poverty and I have gradually rid myself of this toxic victim mentality that plagued me for so long.
I have found agency over my life. I have won and none of this was in any way connected to my family. I did this.
Engaging with them in an attempt to find validation or support has always taken me down a dark and harmful path.
The life I have built for myself, by contrast, is life-affirming, constructive and hopeful.
To that end, I didn’t really do much for Christmas. For me it was mostly a regular day off work and it happened to be one of the four days of the week when I go to the gym. So, that’s what I did.