Christmas inevitably brings many stress factors. Not just the shopping, the over-spending, the regular-and-expected lying to children, the preparations, the baking, the decorations which might be skipped in years past but are now par for the course with a child in the house... Those are all festive yet exhausting. But the biggest stress inducers by far, for me at least, would be the multiple social occasions that pop up and the people who pressure you to attend them.
I'm an introvert. I've confessed that here before. It doesn't mean I don't like people; I genuinely like a lot of people. I even admire some of them, emulate a few, respect several... But anyway, being an introvert simply means that I am not fueled by my time around people. I find that it makes me weary. I am fueled, fired up, and energized by time alone or with just a close friend of two.
That said, you can imagine that the Christmas season is fraught with peril for people like me. Suddenly, a relatively open schedule is littered with events, parties and dinners and family occasions. It's hard to squeeze them all in, but more than that, it's difficult for someone like me to embrace them and anticipate them with anything other than a heavy sigh. I already know what they will entail. There will be long hours of conversation, often about things I don't know (at the many occasions that my happy, friendly, extroverted husband has been invited to); there will be lots of fattening, rich, sugar-laden food (that I will have to avoid so as not to aggravate my prediabetic condition); there will likely be other women I don't know fawning all over my guy, which makes me a tad uneasy. There will be several events which don't allow children, and that's fine here and there but introduces some friction into the works because although they're not my events, I am expected to find childcare—which can be challenging anytime, let alone at Christmastime...
To make matters more complex, my spouse loves people, adores these gatherings, and is happy not to miss a single one. Indeed, all the people who are like him, who also happen to be planners (thank Heaven the spouse is not), are delightedly setting up all sorts of fun evenings (and some daytimes) in which every attendee can come and happily revel in the wondrous company of all the other scintillating people.
Well, here's a newsflash: some people just don't revel in it. Some people find it tiresome after awhile. Maybe even after a very short while.
Just because people have good intentions does not guarantee that they always have good ideas. Sometimes, other people need to be honest and explain the flip side of all this Christmas activity. I don't want to be a hermit, but I am worn out with biting my tongue and saying yes, with shouldering blame for simply being who I am, for the implications from others that I am a strange, twisted, mean-spirited misanthrope when all I really want is meaningful time with my favorite people instead of frenzy.
That is all...for now. I apologize for being a damp dishcloth.
-Ren and Stimpy