Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Give Yourself The Present

Traditionally, this time of year brings out the softer side of us. Most of us anyway. I'm not sure just why that is. Maybe kinder, softer memories of times gone by, people and places long missed, or something more spiritual are the reasons. Whatever they are, they have an affect on us. The reasons spawn actions that come to the surface in a subconscious way. I don't think we make a conscious attempt at it. Seems that the length of the days, the sight of familiar icons like decorated trees, and menorahs, stimulate something buried for the last twelve months, and brings it to the surface.

Then, there are the conscious acts of getting in the mood. Decorating the house, attending services, writing out cards, planning holiday menus, and inviting folks over to the house, or traveling to someone else's house. Both the conscious, and the subconscious acts have a way of combining, and making us who we are this time of year.

Yes, I know there are those of us that also have a hard time this time of year as well, and all for the same reasons. Strange. It is all based on good memories and feelings, but then something goes awry.

I think I know what it is. Simple really. I believe it is missing those good times, those people that once were part of our lives, and are now no longer there. Actually, it is quite normal.

See, when those familiar, comfortable traditions change, and folks that we love, are no longer there for us to be with, it is sad, but for some of us, we don't pick up the torch that was passed to us. There are others that are in the same place we once were, and are relying on us to make their holidays grand, and full of lasting memories.

Hard to think of us having that kind of effect on others, but it's true, and when we get all sullen, down, and miserable, missing times, and people gone by, we do something else that is just as hard, we miss out on our present. Been there. I've walked this miserable walk more than once.

So, how does one bring on the holiday spirit for ourselves. We can't simply open a jar, or a box of Spirit, and pour it over ourselves. There has got to be another way. Well, back in the early fall, when one starts to dread the holidays for whatever reason, walk into the bathroom, look into the mirror at the face that resides there and comes out only when you're there, and with your right hand, slap it, the face, not the reflection, and say, "Enough. Move on. Get over it". Can't say it will work for you, but it did for me.

All those wonderful memories of seasons past are still with you, and the fact that one misses them so much shows just how wonderful they were, but this is now, and that was then.

Make a point of celebrating with family, and friends what is now in a big way, and you will find that the "now" will become the "then" next year, and a whole new set of wonderful remembrances will be there for you to look back upon, and to add to all the others. Kinda neat really. Have fun today, and smile in the memories of today at some later time. Sort of like a two for one thing at Penny's.

Our Holiday Past is something to keep dear, and perhaps, used to guide us along, but keep in mind it is all about the Holiday Present.

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