Monday, December 14, 2009

Aw, what a card.

Because of some insane spark of inspiration that washed over me, I eagerly decided tonight to blog about Christmas cards. I was pretty sure that I once wrote a post about cards at some point. And whoa, I did indeed write one -- one day short of 2 years ago and available here for your reading pleasure. The timing coincidence on that is cute and all. But you could have knocked me over with a candy cane when I read my follow up post. Seriously, my eyes bugged out like one of those kids on a creepy oil painting when I read this:

Several weeks ago, I started addressing envelopes, including the one for M., a friend of mine. However, I learned recently that our friendship's not worth the 41 cents it'd take to mail the card.

OK, two things:

First, someone really needed to spike the eggnog for my 2007 self with a big ol' shot of get over yourself. Basically, I expected M. to read my mind about something that I also blew out of proportion, and he didn't. I'd go further with the story, but then you'd be thinking, "why am I reading this middle school girl's blog?"

Second, and even more hilarious, M. recently moved and emailed me his new address today. You know, so that the card I'll be sending reaches him. And I'll be getting one from him, of course. After we went back and forth on email for quite a while, we finally chatted on the phone for a bit and had a nice conversation.

My point with the M. story is that sometimes (ok, often), the ADD brain gets all caught up in chasing after the shiny thing in front of it. And, if you're me, that's great if the shiny thing is a sweet patent leather handbag like I got last year for 70 percent off. But if the shiny thing is some petty drama that you can't release from your craw, then for us to spend our mental energy on it is a futile mission that has one victim: ourselves. I maybe see M. once a year, and I do recall that it took me several months to "get over it". And I'm glad that I did, as he's an even bigger goofball than I am, and we always have a hilarious time together.

I'm glad that I could catch you up with the happy continuation of M. and my friendship. But now, on to the main point that I wanted make here about Christmas cards.

As per usual this year, I fired up the ol' spreadsheet shortly after Thanksgiving and started to type up the list of folks to whom I'd be sending cards. I was going to be placing an order for cards, so I wanted to make sure that I ordered the right amount. I did weed out a few names (sans the middle school drama), but I noticed that I added many more this year.

The completed list included 50 names, which is more than I ever had on my Christmas card list. And weirdly enough, I didn't feel my typical dread of writing, addressing, sealing, stamping, and mailing. Instead, I looked at the names and realized that I was happy to have these folks in my life. I even thought that about my cousin who openly bemoans my dubious urban singleton lifestyle to anyone within earshot, never mind the fact that I like to travel outside my area code. (Having a million entertainment stories, dates with cute guys, and seeing the world? Priceless!)

I think it very easy to get caught up in the hullabaloo of the holidays. TV ads tout "the perfect Christmas" and equate love with some mass-produced geegaw from the mall jewelry store. Just like my silly situation with my friend M., it's easy for ADDers to fixate on the interesting thing right in front of us and forget the stuff that grounds us. And that's usually the people in our lives.

So when you tick off another name on your card list, think about why you're sending this person a card. Maybe they remember you from back in the day with your big ol' 80s hairdo (and I'm not just talking about the ladies here). Or maybe they're a new pal who, wow, totally understands you. Or perhaps they're like my cousin, and they're an imperfect judgemental know, just like we all are. Or maybe they're like M., and you finally realize that all the stamps sold by the U.S. Postal Service aren't worth as much as your friendship does.