I have always felt a letdown as the holidays wind down. When I was younger I was able to fill the empty hours with a return to my job or projects that I had listed to complete during the winter vacation before I returned to work. I had family responsibilities that made me feel useful. I road the waves out until the crest of January and its deadlines reared their ugly head. (Rarely living in the moment!)
Now I find it more difficult to catch the next wave when the waves are small and barely moving. Retirement coupled with old age brings time for thoughts, regrets, and wishes for do-overs. I know that it is stupid and useless to venture down that path, but each year I feel a little more useless in this world and my mistakes haunt me. I volunteer, donate money, and try to spend as much time as possible with family and my few friends, but everything seems much more ephemeral and questionable as I have acquired perspective moving to the end of the tunnel of my lifeline. Perhaps the stress of the times mixed with my perspective on world affairs adds to this frustration.
This does get balanced with the wonderful opportunities I have for study, pleasure reading, watching great entertainment, watching my family grow and venture into their exotic new lives, and traveling with my husband. I know that I have nothing to complain about. I know that my rich life is how I make it.
So I look to wise men (and women) to lift me:
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy. Desiderata by Max Ehrmann
And as I venture into 2022 and I will work on my attitude.