Thursday, November 12, 2020

Making a Claim on Joy

I am not in general a fan of how early it gets dark these days. I like to take a walk after work and listen to a podcast to clear my head of work thoughts, and I had to turn my phone flashlight on by the end of tonight's walk. I have a jacket with a reflective stripe on it but I think I may need to start carrying a proper flashlight, too!

However, over the last week or so I have noticed something that almost makes up for the fact that I'm walking in the dusk: Christmas lights are going up early in my neighborhood. I noticed the first couple of houses with their lights on just a few days after Halloween. This week, a few more houses joined in.

I have no idea why these neighbors are choosing to light up their houses early, but I find it surprisingly cheering. To say that this has been a tough year in so many ways is obviously a huge understatement. I took yesterday off to spend some time with my kids (who were off school for Veterans Day) and I was surprised by how unrefreshed I felt last night. 

Don't get me wrong: I had a nice day off. But it wasn't enough. Frankly, I don't know what would be enough. This year is just so hard, in so many ways. The pandemic has made almost every aspect of my life harder and created so many extra problems for me to solve, both at work and at home. The election was a cloud of stress and worry over the year, and even though we won the most important thing, the way so many elected Republicans have reacted to Trump's refusal to concede only increases my worries about the long term health of our democracy.  And now I'm watching COVID-19 cases skyrocket all over the country and tick steadily higher here and that makes me worried and so incredibly sad. 

Last night, as I realized how exhausted I am by this all, I also realized that I had better figure out how to get through it because none of this is going to change anytime soon. 

Maybe my neighbors on onto something. Maybe the only answer is to stake a claim on whatever joy you can find. We're thinking we may put our Christmas lights up early this year, too.


  1. I was ready to skip straight to putting up our tree immediately after Halloween this year and a few of our neighbors transitioned straight to Christmas decor too. We don't do external decor but I'm happy that they and we are jumping on the Christmas Right Now bandwagon. I think the subject came up on Twitter and while in past years I didn't like it, this year I'm entirely on board.

    While I am worried about what it says that the politicians aren't all insisting on a concession, I read a really good point about the refusal to concede earlier today: it doesn't matter if he concedes or not because at noon Jan 20, the new president is sworn in and that's that. The Constitution doesn't make any provisions for a former president being a churlish, irresponsible, brat. His job ends by noon Jan 20 whether he likes it or not.

    It does still feel like they're attempting a coup but that is a touch comforting that Constitutionally, we don't need him to do anything. Except we do need that absurd GSA employee to do her job and sign off on funds for the transition already.

  2. Get a headlamp! That way you can keep your hands in your pockets and it automatically points in the direction you're looking.

    Another vote for hanging the Christmas lights early.

  3. We've already gotten Christmas presents from two of DH's relatives (!) (including his mother who is completely ignoring the "only send presents to the person you drew out of the hat" rule). And to be fair, we already got DH's sister her present (she wanted spoons), though in fairness it was back-ordered and we figured she could use it right away. We're waiting on the 3 of her kids we drew.

  4. Anonymous11:47 AM

    They might be Diwali lights. Diwali is this weekend.

    1. They are probably not Diwali lights in my neighborhood, which is mostly white and Latino. I suspect there are some Diwali lights up in other parts of San Diego - and maybe I should go looking for those this weekend! Those would make me happy, too.


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