My Christmas cards and letters were dropped in the mail last week. I've been doing letters for well over a decade and the people who get them tell me I can’t stop now. They don’t take me long to write but it’s always hard to know how much of my life to reveal to my “brick-and-mortar” friends and family. (Can that term even be applied to people or is it just reserved for businesses?) Anyway, the blogging world is used to me spilling my thoughts all over the place but the people in my everyday world don’t have a clue what goes on in my head or my daily life, for that matter, and probably don’t even care if truth were known…except at Christmas when they get The Letter. That’s life. I won’t reprint the entire letter here but to give you a taste of what I wrote this year here’s the first paragraph:
Dear Friends and Family,
Have you ever tried to write an annual Christmas letter and after a few false starts you decide your life is so boring that no one will get past the first paragraph before tossing your letter in the trash? Where do I start my 2014 letter? Nothing great happened this year, nothing bad either. And I didn’t take an exotic vacation you’d enjoy hearing about, although I did sit through a travel lecture on South America. Does that count? I didn’t take up drinking hard spirits or join a cult that chants before breakfast either in case you were holding your breath on those life changing choices that I’ve put on a shelf for someday maybe. Still, I went through my day planner looking for amazing and engaging data to jump-start this letter. January, February, March---yadda, yadda, yadda---all the way through to December and not a single thing had been penciled in worth sharing unless you want to hear about my shoulder surgery the end of October. Not to worry, I still have an arm and even though my surgeon has benched me from shoveling snow this winter, I’m thinking a long extension cord and a hair dryer might work to clear my sidewalks the next time it snows.
Then I went on to describe my adventures online and at classes I took during the year ending with a Facebook invitation to anyone who knew my parents and might want to see the photo essay book I just finished that covers their life spans. “I’m Jean R*****” I wrote, “if you want to send me a Facebook friend request. I only mention the name thing because there are people in my life who still don’t understand that I never took Don’s name when we got married. Note: I love you all anyway but when I die, I hope you remember who I am when the obituary gets written or read. I’m old and I have to worry about something.” Yup, I’m a product of the Feminist Movement, hear me roar which obviously not everyone has. I must be meowing like a kitten instead. And that explains why one of my nieces thought a hospital lost me a few years ago.
By the way, once in a while people I’ve met in cyber space have asked to friend me on Facebook but I have never wanted to mix my “brick-and-mortar” family and friends with my cyber space friends. I still believe that’s the best thing for me to do to protect the privacy of my extended family. So 99.9% of the time I don’t accept friend requests if I don’t know the person face-to-face. Just thought you’d like to know in case you’re not Asha or Pam who make up that .1% and I have known them since shortly after Don's stroke.
P.S. Here’s a link to another post about the letter I sent out the first Christmas after Don passed away. Come the middle of January it will be three years since he died. Sometimes that seems like a 100 years ago and other days, it seems like only yesterday.