Yesterday I realized that this is possibly the best Christmas I’ve had in my life. Or at least in a very very long time. What a wonderful realization!

Christmas used to be a major ordeal for me. It was something to be endured, a necessary evil, and I would white-knuckle it until January when it was all over and I could breathe a sigh of relief at being able to get on with my life.

There were a few things that made it so, but on reflection I realized that my morose state largely stemmed from unrealistic expectations. I’d expected things from people that were unable or unwilling to fulfil my expectations, or from circumstances that were not conducive to fulfilling my needs. Instead of accepting my expectations as unrealistic and making the necessary adjustments, I grew resentful and sorry for myself in equal measure. With each passing Christmas, these negative feelings only seemed to accumulate. My life was a mess, basically.

Around nine years ago I finally realized that I had backed myself into a corner and I made a decision to do what was required in order to fix things. I started a programme of recovery where I acquired a set of tools based on the Twelve Steps that much to my amazement not only helped me mend my life, but also helped me build a new one that went beyond my wildest dreams.

It’s been a fantastic journey. And perhaps not surprisingly, Christmas is the time when I really notice the changes. It’s not only my own attitudes and expectations that have changed, but also other people’s reactions to me. This year I was absolutely amazed at the beautiful, thoughtful gifts I received – and not only material gifts. I realized for the first time that I’ve become really attuned to the spiritual gifts I receive as well – the people that showed up unexpectedly on my birthday, all the lovely birthday greetings I got, cards and letters, hugs and smiles, harmony and serenity, and lots and lots of laughter. My daughter busted her piggy bank to buy me the perfume I wanted, EPI’s daughters gave me oh-so thoughtful and absolutely perfect gifts both for my birthday and Christmas, EPI gave me much more than he was supposed to [we’d made a pact] – and EPI and I even ended our ten-year courtship and got properly engaged with rings and everything. The Christmas parties I went to were delightful, and New Years Eve was the best I’ve had in years and years – non-stop fun from early morning until… well, early morning.

It was exactly the way Christmas is supposed to be. Or at least the way we hope every year it will be. I know very well that not everybody has such happy times at Christmas. I also know that mine wouldn’t have been so lovely if I hadn’t done the footwork required to make it so. But I couldn’t have done it on my own. The bottom line is that I’ve just been blessed. In so many ways.

No! It was so gorgeous this morning – real proper snow! The ground was covered in white when I got up, and as the morning progressed a blizzard hit that was just gorgeous to watch from the cosiness of my little office. It’s been pretty windy though, and when I went for my run around noon [when the blizzard had stopped] I discovered that the waves had crashed over the embankment and there were huge rocks scattered on the walkway next to it. Not the sort of thing you want to have land on your head. Anyway, it’s melting quickly now – temps are 3°C and whaddaya know – Morgunblaðið, which is still sending us a free complementary subscription, has the sunrise/sunset times: 11.17 and 15.47.