If you're feeling stressed out and maybe even depressed about the upcoming holidays (Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa), I can relate. (I'd include Ramadan but it was in June and July this year.)
If you realize that not a single person is coming to visit you from out of town for the holidays, I can relate.
If much of your family has moved to Florida, leaving you with four or fewer family members for the holidays, I can relate.
If you see those commercials and shows on television where 40 people show up for Thanksgiving and you just want to cry because there's no way your family could get 40 people in one place, I can relate. (Suggestion: Skip the Hallmark channel.)
If you get tired of all the car commercials this time of year because spending $40,000 or more on a car is just not you, I can relate.
If you've just realized you've gained eight pounds in the last month and it isn't even Thanksgiving yet, I can relate. (Start working on your fitness in December; don't wait for January.)
If your work situation seems to be even more hectic and pressure-packed than ever and your boss says, "Holidays? What holidays?", I can relate.
If you feel that the holidays are all about spending money on electronics to replace devices that are still working well, I can relate. (There's little 4K content yet. Just wait.)
If you see a Facebook friend's pictures where her house is all decorated up like Martha Stewart's for the holidays and your house isn't even going to have a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, I can relate. (Remember, she's retired and has time for that.)
If the shorter and shorter days make you pine for those long June days, I can relate.
If your friends are bitching because they just got four inches of snow and you wish that you could have just a bit of snow to cover up your neighbors unraked leaves, I can relate.
If you hate turning on the news because of all the bad stuff going on in the world, including this country, I can relate.
If you wish a real, intelligent, practical, middle-of-the-road businessperson, like Mark Cuban, would run for President, I can relate.
If you're worried that a recession is coming and you might lose 30% in your 401(k) funds in the next few months, I can relate.
If the holidays make you sad because you it reminds you of the grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles who have died and you miss them, I can relate.
If you've lost a spouse, close friend, brothers or sisters or children to death, I can't relate but I do sympathize. I also sympathize if you have a loved one or friend in the hospital or therapy and you really want them to come home before the end of the year.
If one of your pets died this year, I sympathize, even if it was just a goldfish.
There are a lot of things that can make you sad during the holidays. Don't let them. With a blink of an eye, it seems, the holidays will be past and we'll be celebrating New Year's Day with the promise (perhaps naïve) of a brand new year.
If you're really lonely, reach out to a friend. They may not invite you to a family celebration, but maybe you can invite them to lunch and just talk. Go to a movie, sports event or an event where there are other small groups of people where you can pick up some of their energy.
For those who live close to Cincinnati, go to the Vocal Arts Ensemble's Christmas concert. Go to church; if you don't have a church, go to one of the Crossroads Churches. If you're not Christian, look around for a church that fits your beliefs. You can also try my church, First Unitarian Church, which welcomes all faiths. Also in Cincinnati, you can always go to Fountain Square, watch the skaters and pick up good vibes there.
But be proactive. Don't let the holiday season get you down. Try to take the negatives in your life and turn them into positives. That's what I plan on doing.
(Also published on my Facebook page.)