Christmas. Just one week away.

How much a non-day event this becomes the older I get. Not a NON-day actually. Every 24-hour cycle is, technically, a day.

What I should have said is what an ANY day Christmas has turned into over the years. “Special” only because our society and our culture and our religious norms and the calendar itself say it’s so. The requisite time spent with family during the holidays – images of jolly laughter, yuletide carols, warmth and comradery – feels forced, somehow. Contrived. In reality, this time of year is often more stressful and chaotic than it is calming and cleansing. Expectations are high, emboldened by the trappings of social media, for a glitzy, candle-shrouded, Hallmark Cards experience to rival anything Hollywood could muster up on the big screen. We’re bombarded with photographs and images, tweets and postings positively dripping with hygge-inspired loveliness that render our drab, ordinary lives pathetic by comparison.

Here’s an idea. What say we treat every day as special, each day a Christmas? Loving one another, treasuring the earth, showing kindness, embracing gratitude every 24-hour cycle. And for good measure – and for sanity’s sake for ALL of us – let’s shrug off what we think and believe others are doing and how others are living their lives and just focus on what makes US happy for a change?

Now that would be cause for celebration.

The view outside my eyeballs is no different than it was before Thursday, December 11, 2014. It’s the same overcast sky. The same brown, lifeless trees. The same Christmas décor looking strangely out of place with no snow on the ground. People come and go about their business, oblivious to what has changed for ME since that day. The traffic on Fleur Drive and University Avenue and I-35 still chugs along, its vehicle’s inhabitants on their way to jobs, homes, shopping malls and other obligations and passions of life.

Make no mistake though. Something HAS changed, at least in my own little world. The sights all around me are amazing, utterly amazing. It’s true that what has changed, for me, is more a consequence of my yearning for convenience, for want of a kinship with those who’ve never known (and therefore perhaps have always just taken it for granted) what it’s like to see without an apparatus of visual aid of any kind.

Having Lasik surgery – on eyes with 20/200 and 20/400 vision – was a decision made after much deliberation, caution, exuberance and a mix of both anticipation and apprehension. Twice during the procedure, fascinating in its own right, I was tempted to ask the nurse to hold my hand. The somber reality of what might, of what could go wrong was ever present but still I went through with it. My fears were, I’m certain, not unlike what anyone else who’s had the surgery has experienced. For some reason, that comforted me and made it easier to forge ahead.

Now, my eyes are healing from the process. I’m taking all the necessary precautions, putting the drops in at the prescribed intervals, wearing the plastic shields while I sleep, taking care to keep hard, airborne objects and elbows from striking or even a stray finger intent on rubbing or scratching too close for comfort. Family, friends and work colleagues will have to deal with seeing me without makeup for the next two weeks (a scary proposition, indeed!) They may have to also put up with the occasional, spontaneous tears such as what I’ve experienced since the surgery. I think I cried at least four or five times within 24 hours of the procedure. The beauty, the reality of being able to see, unaided, continues to amaze me.

It’s overwhelming to think – even now as I look up from my laptop – to look out at the Starbucks parking lot and realize that I am able to SEE all of this without glasses which I’ve worn since third grade, without contact lenses which I’ve worn for more than thirty years. My vision is as crisp and clear as it ever was. Indeed, on my follow up exam the morning after the procedure, I was told I’m now seeing 20/20. Incredible. How fortunate I am to be able to see – and this was true even before Lasik! – this magnificent, wonderful world I live in, the world all around me