Monday, December 24, 2012

So This Is Christmas and What Have You Done?

I’ve got a confession to make.

I’m a Christmas music whore.

By that, I mean that, despite the fact that I try to be discerning and artistically critical throughout the rest of the year with music, eschewing Top 40 radio for less commercial fare like The Alabama Shakes and The Civil Wars, when it comes to Christmastime, its all fair game. From “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” to Michael Bolton and Mariah Carey (although, I’ll confess, Taylor Swift’s “Last Christmas” kind of got under my skin a bit this year), I’m all in. There’s just something about the simple familiarity and warmth of many of these songs that draws me in.

And over the past few years, one song in particular has begun to stick out just a little bit from the rest, almost poking and prodding me as each Christmas season has begun. That song?

None other than John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Happy Christmas (War Is Over).”

Now it’s a song that we’ve all heard; throw on whatever local station you like or pull up a mix on Pandora or Grooveshark and you’ll hear it. And it’s pretty easy to sing along to as well. It’s just one of those songs. But a few years ago this one little snippet of lyric began to get stuck in my head during the holidays and challenge me, as the song succinctly asks:

So this is Christmas, and what have you done? Another year over, the new one’s just begun.

What have you done?

It’s a powerful question, especially when, for the past three or so years, it feels as though I’ve really done very little. Now, that’s being unfair, no doubt, but we don’t always have the benefit of being able to zoom out of our lives and examine the “big picture” ala God so, for me, it feels like the past several years have been pretty much tied up with a whole bunch of the same old, same old. Work, work, try to get some time with the family, and back to work. Very little in between.

Those are certainly necessary, and in some cases, worthwhile things but I’m someone that desires purpose and, guys will understand this perhaps a bit more than the ladies, some sense of something new and adventurous in my life. One of the beauties of the sports I’ve always played was that no matter how good I may have gotten, there was always a next step up. For all the writing I’ve done, there’s always been something better to be done, a bigger forum to reach, or something like that.  And it’s not really about being dissatisfied or having a lack of content but more about just wanting to truly experience life.

And I basically let myself get into some sort of rut. A funk, if you will.

Until this year.

I never imagined, just a little over a year ago when my amazing wife, Coupon Clip-Her, stepped into the world of roller derby, how it would change our family’s life. And I sure as hell never imagined that I’d even consider, let alone actually gear up, for the game myself.

Yet, here I am, three or so months in, and I’m trying. And while it hasn’t been a perfect start, from breaking my ribs the first practice to getting discouraged and simply being frustrated with how damn difficult it really is just to skate, let alone think and play a game on eight wheels, to being recently sidelined with the flu, I’m still planning on going back. I’ve made new friends, I’ve hurt in places I’d forgotten I had, and, if but just a little bit, I’ve found a little determination to push and see this thing through.

On top of that, I’ve been able to combine my passion for writing alongside this crazy ride and have seen some cool stuff come of that, the least of which is simply the discipline to keep writing. It’s helped me in my other endeavors and has given me some very cool accountability to boot. And, with quite a few page views (although we can always use more; tell your friends!), it seems like this story of fat to fitness or spectator to participant has at least piqued the interest of a few.  And for those that read and share, I thank you. There’s nothing more that someone who fancies themselves a writer loves than that people actually read the work.

So this is Christmas, and what have I done?

I’ve put on skates and become FallRisk. Yes, I’m still more wannabe than having people want to be me but, barring any major injuries, I’m in this mess to win it. And 2013 will hopefully bring plenty of successes to counter these trying, yet inspirational, moments of 2012.

Merry Christmas and happy skating!

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