Hilly and I (and the Havanese Mountain Dog, Olive) drove ten hours yesterday, in wretched weather to get up here to Blue Hill Maine to spend Christmas with my beloved son Tim and his two little girls, Thea and Eliza. SO worth it. Late supper with them, then off to the Inn. Not the stable this time… a nice little stand-alone cottage, very cozy.
Woke up at two… not cozy. Electricity out… maybe until March… radio says through Christmas day. Temperature in the cottage is maybe 20 degrees. Put on all clothes, go back to bed… our three heads, in hats, lined up on the pillows, for “a long winter’s nap.” Waiting for Santa. Or for the heat to come back on. No such luck.
Get up…drive amongst the ice-bowed trees and frozen roads to Tim’s. His little house very old which means lots of fireplaces, thank heaven… including one in the kitchen with a “hob” or arm from which to hang cook pots. Which we do, for coffee and later breakfast. Pretty authentic. Look out window and think for a second that someone had put a million lights up in one of the trees. But no… it is the rising sun catching the ice coating the branches in just the right way. Miracle. We lug in presents to add to the pile under the unlit tree. The little girls are plenty excited, lights or not. Us too. Ice or no… there is at least a hint of miraculous warmth in the air. Hey… I have a corny, sentimental side; can’t be helped.
Hours later, thick coat of ice on absolutely everything, but electricity back on. Take moment to look at email. And Santa himself couldn’t have been kinder.
We get a ton of mail, but there were two Christmas letters that broke our hearts and had our spirits soaring, by turns. Two guys who had been in serious jams, not long ago, had dug themselves out with the help of the Younger Next Year books – and Thinner – and just wanted to thank Harry, Jen and me at this holiday season. For, you know, saving their lives. Wonderful, wonderful stories that fill us with gratitude and remind us just what we are up to in life, And how lucky we are.
SO… a Merry Christmas to all and to all a wonderful New Year. If you happen to change your own life a bit in the new year, wonderful. If you get to pitch in and change someone else’s life a bit, too… oh boy, even better. It’ll make your year… just the way those two letter made mine. Merry Christmas, Chris.
Hey Chris, Here’s wishing you and Hilly a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year.
Happy to hear you are still cranking and electricity came on, too. No buzzkill intended here, but is there anything associated with “Younger Next Year” that would help a person who suffers with bipolar disorder (manic depression) for all these 40 something years. I am not a basket case most of the time (though certainly some of the time), but I have had trouble all these years with depression and an inability to believe in what I am doing. And lots of other crap, too. “Younger Next Year” itself doesn’t mention mental illness, but I wonder if there is a place on the website or some allied material which would provide info about how to come at the philosophy and means of the book when you have bipolar disorder/depression. Thanks so much for all the years of great stuff. Happy New Year.
All the best,
Brian, I have been dealing with depression since my early teens, now 61. After a ” breakdown” about 20 years ago, I started getting some help through counselling and medication. For the past 10+ years I have been medication and counsellor free. Exercise is my medication now. I walk a lot and snowshoe in the winter time. I’m not to where I need to be yet with the program, but am looking forward to using this as a guide to help with a long, happy, healthy life, physically and mentally. I still have days when the depression is a challenge but most times a good walk helps me get things leveled out. I wouldn’t recommend that anyone just throw away their meds and start walking, but for me walking has been a great help with the battle. The book has been an encouragement as I’ve seen that I’ve been heading in the right direction for a while now, and look forward now to kicking it up a few notches!