Whatever you celebrate, I hope it's a happy, healthy time for all. Neither of these gifts is totally within our control. My neighbor has been hospitalized for weeks and will not be home with her family for Christmas; my friends and relations in New England are struggling with a barrage of snow and ice, putting them and their jobs and their animals in precarious positions. I know they will do their best to endure the deep winter that slaps them around weekly. Health is such a gift, and we can do much to maintain it. Having had a big birthday this month, I am determined to do all I can to correct some bad, lazy habits. Those habits are, if we let them be, inherent in our role as writers. We sit. That's a good thing. If we don't keep the butt in the chair and the hands moving, nothing happens. But praising ourselves for getting the work done might mask the need to move. So, I've joined a gym, had a thorough physical, changed the way I shop for groceries, and the way I eat. I reach for fruit when I'm hungry between meals, eat way less meat, more fish. I passed the plate of gingerbread cookies at a meeting this week. I want to live long enough to finish some of the many projects on my list. I don't want to spend the holidays in a hospital.
So for all my writer friends, all my relatives, all my other dear people, I wish you the gift of health. I can't give it to you, but I can urge you to do what you know is right. Put yourself at the desk when you work, feel good about what you do, then get up and move. Walk the dog an extra time around the block, take up a sport that you love and will pursue, go to the gym, go to a dance. I hope you'll dance. See a health care provider and plan what's next for you. Don't think of your body as separate from yourself. It's not a temple. It's you. Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Kwanza, Solstice, New Year. Celebrate the coming light however you wish. Be healthy, wealthy, and wise, especially wise. It may be the only thing you can change.