We are entering a period of great reflection, as we rush toward these last few weeks of 2005. Some of us will look back at this past year with fondness, others with regret. We will see the mistakes we made and wonder why we made them, how it was we repeated the same old patterns again, with our friends and family and lovers. If we are single, we will remember this time last year when we weren't; if we're coupled, we might even do the same. The holidays are a wonderful opportunity to take stock of where we are and who we're with, whether we've lived up to own demands - resolutions we set down and carry with us from one year to the next - and potential or if, like many, we've fallen into age-old grooves.
Everyone has heard the definition of insanity: going about the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If this is you, then it might be high time to identify those well-worn habits, those you've been meaning to pack up and ship off. If you're involved in a relationship that makes you miserable, the holidays will only bring out more of the same. These are difficult times ahead, ladies and gentlemen, and it's best to go into the holidays wide-eyed and clear-headed. If you're a heavy drinker, perhaps you'll leave the eggnog alone. If you're prone to engaging in casual sex, perhaps you'll remove yourself from those situations that bring this out in you. Any addiction is harmful, whether it's people, places, or things. Best to seek out professional help before professional help seeks you out.
Love, as we all know, can either send us to the moon or drop us into the abyss. With the holidays quickly approaching, senses are heightened and our sense of love, of how much we're getting, how much we've neglected, is no different. More than any other time of year, the Christmas holidays thrive on equals parts greed and good will, our own capacity to give and receive openly and warmly, and for some, in the face of such excess, this is overwhelming. If you and you significant other come from a large family, perhaps you'll spend a couple of days before the onslaught of relatives arrive being kind and gentle with each other - take some alone time, check in and make sure you're still on the same page. Love can survive almost anything except the breakdown of communication.
If you're single, don't panic. You are your own worst enemy this time of year, as you pass couples in the throes of PDA's, snuggling up close to each other in the cold. If you don't want to be alone, make a date not to be - it's that simple. But beware of overreaching at this time of year. Intimacy, like love, will feel more intense and more comfortable to you and you might end up letting your guard down for the wrong person. Take your time and don't rush. If it's meant to be, it will last well beyond these often harrowing, often joyous days to come. Stay in control of your feelings and your feelings will lead you skipping happily into 2006.
"David Levinson is a young writer who has mastered all the elements that make up a classically structured short story: drama, suspense, humor, empathy. There are no fancy pyrotechnics or meta-fictional devices here. He's a neo-traditionalist so the stories are direct, emotional and compulsively readable, plus there's enough mystery and action in them to propel at least a dozen novels."<br>Bret Easton Ellis