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“If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.” | A Holiday Season Primer

How to treat depression

Um, it’s here. With Thanksgiving Day at our doorsteps, the holiday season has arrived. Tens of millions are gleefully all over it, visions of sugar-plums dancing in their heads. Yeah, but my money says tens of millions enduring a mood or anxiety disorder are settling their brains for a long winter’s nap…

And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.’ Kurt Vonnegut

Just doesn’t seem right, does it? I mean, it’s not as though living with mood or anxiety woes isn’t tough enough. But then on comes this overlay of holiday season expectations that take many of us to cold and dark places.

Oh, it isn’t that we’re shallow and heartless. Far from it. Nah, due to varied combinations of genetics, temperament, and life experience, the holiday season can be, well, hard.

I dunno’, I think that’s understandable, and merits acceptance – at the very least from self.

Don’t you?

Still, acceptance doesn’t equate to acquiescence. So I’m issuing a challenge – to all of us – to do our best to open our hearts and minds to even a small slice of the season.

‘Course, that’ll mean buying-in to some gratitude, sharing, lightness, and love.

Author Kurt Vonnegut made a habit of sharing his experiences with his Uncle Alex. In a 1999 graduation address, he offered…

One of the things Uncle Alex found objectionable about human beings was that they so rarely noticed it when they were happy. He himself did his best to acknowledge it when times were sweet. We could be drinking lemonade in the shade of an apple tree in the summertime, and Uncle Alex would interrupt the conversation to say, ‘If this isn’t nice, what is?’

So I hope that you will do the same for the rest of your lives. When things are going sweetly and peacefully, please pause a moment, and then say out loud, ‘If this isn’t nice, what is?’

Vonnegut streamlined the concept in his 2005 book A Man Without a Country

And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.’

Okay, so I’m not suggesting we go all “Uncle Alex” 24/7 for the next five weeks. But maybe a time or two wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

Sure, the holiday season is here. Visions of sugar-plums? Unnecessary. That long winter’s nap? Let’s try to shorten it.

So up-and-out of our cold and dark places, even for a moment. And maybe just one “Uncle Alex?”

Let’s roll!

Happy Holidays, Chipur Reader…

Hey! Would you like to review more Chipur titles? ‘Tis the season.