Going through the motions

By JONATHAN CHARLES FOX
Posted 12/11/19

As the holiday season amps up and lights begin to twinkle, I find myself in a bit of a conundrum. I’m not always in the mood to shake hands, kiss cheeks, take a photo, move on and repeat. As …

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Going through the motions

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As the holiday season amps up and lights begin to twinkle, I find myself in a bit of a conundrum. I’m not always in the mood to shake hands, kiss cheeks, take a photo, move on and repeat. As cocktail glasses clink in the background and folks in fancy outfits take selfies, I sometimes find myself observing from the sidelines, wistful and melancholic, and I know that I’m not alone. “Gray skies are gonna clear up,” Mom would say, quoting the song that Dick Van Dyke made famous: “Put on a happy face.” 

Maybe it has something to do with post-Thanksgiving blues (is that a thing?) or a change in barometric pressure (that is a thing), but until this morning I had chalked it up to just being cranky. I often feel compelled to go out and “have fun,” even when I’m not in the mood, because, well… going out and having “fun” is part of my (cue tiny violins) job. While perusing my schedule, which included the Sullivan Catskills Visitors Association (SCVA) Annual Meeting and Holiday Celebration last Thursday, I glanced at the dog and audibly sighed. “At least you have something to wear,” I grumbled. “And you like hors d’oeuvres (cue wagging tail). I’m just going through the motions.” 

Turns out, that’s not exactly true, because when I looked up the definition, I realized that it wasn’t accurate. “To do something in a perfunctory way,” the dictionary of idioms (www.thefreedicionary.com) stated, “indicative of a lack of interest or involvement.” 

“I’m interested!” I hollered. “I’m involved,” I yelped, but the dog had lost focus after the mention of hors d’oeuvres. “Maybe I’m just tired. Or it could be Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD),” I spoke aloud, but she had retired to another room, most likely to avoid my whining. SAD (yes, it’s a thing) is “a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons, and begins and ends at about the same time every year,” according to the fine folks at www.mayoclinic.org. “If you’re like most people with the condition, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.” Hmmm. 

“Well, if that isn’t a lively cocktail party icebreaker, I don’t know what is,” I sarcastically intoned to Dharma before slipping a glittery reindeer-decorated hoodie type thing over her adorable head. Off we went, shaking hands and snapping pics, while admiring this year’s SCVA award winners and their accomplishments. Following CEO Roberta Byron Lockwood’s inspirational “message from the president” and the keynote address from Young Strategies’ Berkeley Young, the program indicated that Darlene Fedun was slated  to receive the SCVA “Tourism Trailblazer” award and speak. Fedun, who recently stepped down from her position as CEO of Bethel Woods Center for the Arts and (IMHO) abdicated the throne, was “unable to attend” (word on the street says that she’s in Florida) and the award was graciously accepted on her behalf by marketing and communications manager Emily Casey instead. 

“Star Individual Award” winner Dan Paradiso (The Kartrite Resort and Indoor Waterpark) was happy to be present and all smiles accepting his award, making sure to credit his “amazing staff” for all that they do, before handing the mic over to Canal Towne Emporium’s Gary Homes, who eloquently spoke of the history and legacy of the family business.  “Gary said it all,” brother Lyman succinctly stated before Sullivan County Communications Director Dan Hust accepted the T.O.A.S.T. (Tribute to Associate Serving Tourism) Award for Exceptional Service. “I have no idea why I’m winning this award,” Hust amusingly said to the crowd. “It probably has something to do with the 50th anniversary of Woodstock.” 

As I went through the motions of saying my goodbyes, I told a few people that I’d likely see them at the 10th annual Holiday Market at Bethel Woods, and I did. I shook hands and took selfies while genuinely being interested and involved. 

Uh oh. Here comes Santa Claus. 

To see all of the photos from both events visit our Facebook.

Notes about SAD from the Mayo Clinic:
It’s normal to have some days when you feel down. But if you feel down for days at a time and you can’t get motivated to do activities you normally enjoy, see your doctor. This is especially important if your sleep patterns and appetite have changed, you turn to alcohol for comfort or relaxation, or you feel hopeless or think about suicide.
Signs and symptoms of SAD may include:
• Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
• Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
• Having low energy
• Having problems with sleeping
• Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
• Feeling sluggish or agitated
• Having difficulty concentrating
• Feeling hopeless, worthless, or guilty
• Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide

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