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Health and Sanity

Rashmi Vasudeva
Features writer on health, lifestyle and the Arts, digital marketing blogger, mother
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piqer: Rashmi Vasudeva
Monday, 24 December 2018

A Quest To Find The Real Meaning Of Happy Holidays

How often do we ask someone how they are feeling, just to receive a bland 'fine', never mind if things are actually okay or terrible? And once that word is uttered, we move on (or die inside). Familiar, isn't it?

With this premise at its heart, this podcast series wants to achieve the seemingly impossible: get people to be frank about their pains, troubles, frailties and awkwardness. You cannot blame it for lack of ambition, and to give it its due, the episodes (I’ve listened to two and plan to listen to more) achieve a fine balance between the genuinely sad and the really funny. Be warned, the podcast may also make you uncomfortable in places. I felt rather distressed when I was listening to the episode on speech impediment in which host Nora McInerny has a heart-to-heart with Erin who lives with stuttering and continues to hear jokes about it everywhere in popular culture as well as in her own life.

But the episode I recommend here is one for the holidays. Ideally, holidays ought to be a time of reflection and anticipation as Nora puts it, instead of the frenzy and anxiety it too often manages to generate. The episode gently tells us that it’s okay to not force yourself to be jumping with joy because you are expected to. It lets us know that expectations and hopes can be dreadfully scary sometimes and it is okay to admit that to oneself.

In this context, comedian and writer Alyssa Limperis shares a moving story about the Holiday letter she wrote when her dad died from brain cancer. This story, among others in the podcast, examines how moments of despair and darkness need to be looked in the eye so that we know how to glean lessons from them without feeling hopeless, reshape ourselves continually and maybe even find replenishment in the most trying situations. Perhaps then we could enjoy happy holidays in the truest sense. 

A Quest To Find The Real Meaning Of Happy Holidays
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