The Christmas Spirit

We have turned on the heat in the apartment. This uncommon though seasonally predictable act signifies we’ve entered that short period of time during which the daily ambient temperatures consistently drop below a high of 80 degrees. For the next several weeks – conveniently the Christmas holidays – we’ll continue to endure cooler weather though usually beneath azure blue skies. Today was illustrative of that complexion. Once again this morning as I cycled along the island my first and instinctive gasp reflected the remarkable beauty and astoundingly clear atmosphere which surrounded me. The only difference today was that I wore a light sweater atop my customary golf shirt.

Last night for some inexplicable reason I slept well. This is no small compliment because historically I seldom sleep soundly. The reason has nothing whatever to do with additives, neither alcoholic nor narcotic. I speculate that my psychological well-being contributes to the improvement. The past five years have incrementally marked an alteration of my life. I am only now fully adjusting. The changes include the sale of an abundance of personal possessions (furnishings, jewellery, art and grand piano), recasting debt to capital, switching irregular to fixed income, life-style transition from single-family home to condominium cave dwelling, property ownership to rental, professional work to retirement, death of both parents, inheritance and straddling two countries for six-months each year.

The transitions are also marked by less discernible matters such as the editing I’ve lately undertaken of my written material. The process is akin to throwing out old clothing. It is part of the purification which generally attends moving from one venue to another. I now feel I have less but I get more. Nor is this purely metaphorical. What however overcomes any discouragement arising from deprivation is that I have lost the appetite for what has disappeared or been discarded. At the same time I have cultivated the habit of sustaining my erstwhile proclivity for candidness. It is apparent to me that with few exceptions most people are uninterested in my driving ambitions. I caution this is not a recommendation of dishonesty, rather merely a quelling of openness.

People whom I admire have taught me that certain dispositions are more sociable than others. While it is easy to be critical of such suggestively calculated behaviour, it is for the most part a palatable response to the common human failure which insinuates each of us. Hopefully there will always remain those with whom we can be entirely forthright; but otherwise dilution is preferred. The practical reality – for me at least – is that the sanitized version avoids the subsequent embarrassment of having to eat crow.