“It’s A Wonderful Life” (1946)

  1. Loss. We lose family, friends, lovers over the years. It is an unvarying constant of human existence.
  2. “Roads Not Taken”. The end of every year gives us perspective on our lives. Another year gone! Another year older. More aches and pains? More gray hair? What have we accomplished? Where are we on life’s journey. The loss of parents and friends contributes to this, as the realization that we, too, are mortal becomes less and less avoidable. I recently lost the last blood relative from my parent’s generation. That is kinda…final. We’re next.
  3. Comparisons to past holidays. If we were at all fortunate, our parents did all they could to protect us from pain, and make holidays as festive as possible. They KNEW that we would need every emotional resource possible to survive adult life. And the creation of happy touchstones: birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc., are moments of joy most of us can count on and look forward to. It might get a little harder every year to surrender to “the Christmas Spirit” but if you can…if you are surrounded by love and joy…it connects you to the sense of limitless possibility and wonder you felt as a child. Its worth the effort.

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Steven Barnes

Steven Barnes

Steven Barnes is a NY Times bestselling author, ecstatic husband and father, and holder of black belts in three martial arts. www.lifewritingpodcast.com.