As a kid I used to wait for the Holidays and wished it to arrive much earlier than the actual date itself. With the expectation to hopefully receive new dress shirts, new pants, sweets and a chance to celebrate it with fire displays and mouthwatering food that my mom made me, it was really a waiting game. I couldn’t wait for sunrise to wake up, wake my brother up, brush my teeth, have shower and indulge myself in my NEW DRESS. The fun part of it all was to share my joy and happiness with my neighbors who were indeed part and parcel of my childhood. Most of our friends with whom we had gone to school and college are still considered to be part of our life. They are also a big part of our LOST childhood. Like,we are to them, they are to us. Time does stop for no one. Part of that childhood was filled with childish behaviors, curious adventures and innocent activities. Those are all behind us and have vanished into thin air. All we have with us are those precious memories. Today we do not get to admire and enjoy those simple things in our lives. Holidays are full of memories. Holidays help us re-live those moments.
Holidays were never intended to or set up for shopping. But today that is the case. It’s all about shopping and unlimited spending. It’s not about family anymore. Online shopping is open 24/7, instant gratification is at our doorstep and credit cards are waiting to be swiped at our beck and call. To speed it up even more we have 1 hour delivery or next day Air. As a result of this, the total experience in itself is lost : the old charm of waiting till we had the money to make the purchase, the trip to the store alone on a scooter was thrilling, once we got there the smell of new clothing was overwhelming, then having the tailor measure it was spectacular. Then it dies down all of a sudden, because now it’s a two week wait for the tailor to stitch the shirt to our specification. I now remember that the 2nd pocket was extra and it carried an extra charge. After 2 weeks, the journey continues. Now it is finally ready and I wear this custom made, brand new shirt after such a long wait. That feeling is PRICELESS. We cannot put a price tag on it. It’s also hard to describe it in words. You have to really live it to experience it. Only then can you appreciate it.
Memories are all that remains of us in our own personal lives, once all our friends are dead and gone. This tells a lot about us. It tells us that we have beaten all odds of survival to make it to this ripe old age. I should say, this young age. Because this is the new Young. As we all live longer and longer trying to hit the century mark, all of us need true and time tested support from family and friends. This is what life is all about, support group in both good and not so good times. During holidays, we tend to get absorbed in purchasing material gifts, that we forget to give the real gift of love. Gifts are not supposed to be wrapped in fancy paper sheets with bow and ties, but to be given as love that is filled with honesty, wrapped in truth and the one that is genuine.
Today we see ourselves giving gifts for the sake of giving. We are following the crowd. This is the herd mentality. When one does everyone follows, for them to be accepted by others. If not, they fear being left out in the cold. It has indeed become a formality. We are purchasing material gifts for anyone and everyone who are on our GIFT list, whether we like them or not, whether they have helped us or not, whether they are genuine to us or not and whether they have contributed positively to our life in any way or not. True friendship in any relationship is all about openness, caring and trust. If any of these do not exist, the relationship itself becomes soluble. Are we True to ourselves and others? If we make it a habit to give gifts for the sake of giving, it does not become a gift that is given with true love. It is just a material wrapped in paper. It becomes anything but a true Gift. Just because we are on someones Gift list does not mean that they like us or we like them. It is just how life works at the superficial level in the lives of most people. Everything has become a formality. This is a fact. We see people making reservations at lavish hotels in exotic places, indulging in the most expensive food and alcohol that suit their taste, travel first class, and soak themselves in luxury at every opportunity. This is the way by which some people give themselves a gift on certain occasions. They are in fact treating themselves. This may be their manipulated lifestyle that looks good on the outside, but what about their inside? What is going on inside them? Do they have an unfilled void that is devoid of true love and happiness? If at all there is something, Is this genuine? People do fake a lot of things which includes friendship and love.
We give gifts for every imaginable occasions. Holidays is one such occasion that is focused mainly on family and friends. It has also been too heavily commercialized and it has a lot to do with money. We can buy anything on credit in an instant by using our credit card. It is well and nice if we have the money to pay for the purchase once the statement comes in. If we do not have this money at hand, the holiday may not feel like a holiday that is well deserved. It may end up being a holiday from hell. This is what happens from October thru December of each year for most people round the World. We are given free credit to purchase anything we want. So we go on a spending spree without ever thinking of our ability to repay. Now the New Year passes with loads of credit card statements coming in from all angles. Now the stress levels go sky high affecting each and everyone around, both at home and at place of work. The next few months becomes daunting with sleepless nights filled with anxiety, worry and helplessness. This is when depression sets in, usually at the wrong time.
Billions of dollars are spent on gifts, wrapping paper and accessories. It is a Multi-Billion Dollar industry in itself. Instead of surrounding ourselves with true family and true friends, we have been conditioned to surround ourselves with lots and lots of material gifts. A true gift does not have to be given to be anyone nor received by anyone, by having it packed with ribbons, gift wrap and a card. TRUE GIFT needs to come from within each and everyone of us. This is true love to self and to others. We are all wired to be helpful to each other and support each others feelings without hurting anyone. If we do not feel like helping anyone, we should at least step back and not hurt any one. Let them do their thing and we do ours. Who said we need to shop till we drop for the Holidays, who said we need to fight for that one parking space, who said we need to max out on all our credit cards and who said we need to drive ourselves deeper into debt with impulse buys. Gifts are passing fads that change from year to year. Old ones get discarded into landfills and new ones pop up to fill in the gap. In this process of Commerce the opportunistic retailers do make tons of money at our loss. The prime purpose of Holidays have literally come down to money these days. It was not intended to be that way. It’s definitely was not designed by our ancestors to be the way it is now. THE Preference of Money or Material things over Family.
Holidays is all about family and self. This is what it stands for. It calls for the celebration of us with the rest of the World. It calls for the rich to serve the poor. It calls all of us to embrace the unique gift of life and it calls all of us to Thank our creator for giving us the unique opportunity to inhabit this beautiful Planet. It also stands to celebrate a rich harvest, share happiness, help one another, getting rid of Ego and other negative emotions. New Year is the time to getting rid of old habits and form new ones, getting rid of old grudges by filling it with happiness, getting rid of negative thoughts by filling it up with positive ones, getting rid of complains by replacing it with action that bring in solution to every problem. It surely is not the end of the World. It is only the death of one year and the birth of another. We will need to grow ourselves into a new being at the dawn of each passing year, by birthing ourselves and bringing ourselves out to the birth of a New Year by filling it with new experiences rather than dwelling on the past mistakes of the past year. We cannot change the clock back. We can only move forward. We are past our childhood into adulthood. No amount of effort can take us back to our childhood days. Time to renew ourselves, be reborn, make new commitments, brainstorm new ideas, make new friends, innovate to sustain our environment, employ many people to help them help themselves. Teach them to fish instead of giving them a fish. You get the point. It is in fact a NEW BEGINNING for each and every one of us.
Be Happy each and every day, make someone laugh, laugh at yourself for no reason and make sure to make someones day in a good way. Enjoy each breath. We never know when it will be our last. Life is very short to do it all. All we can do is to take one day at a time and one step at a time. Before we know it, it will be time to go. Celebrate each day to the fullest by living it each day. Retirement is not to be postponed for tomorrow. Celebrate it today. That’s what Holidays are for and EVERYDAY IS A HOLIDAY. It’s what we make of it. Remember, we are only renting this space. One day we will be vacating it for a New tenant. Happy Holidays to you and your family.