“Recently, I've become aware that there are fewer days ahead than there are behind. But I took some comfort that the family would go on, but now there'll be no more Picards.”

– Capatin Jean Luc Picard, Star Trek: Generations

Christmas is over. The new year is here. Today, I finished taking down all of my Christmas decorations.

The tree is down. My porch is no longer lit up at night.

In a sense, there’s a newfound darkness in my world.

This time of year is often difficult for me.

Don’t get me wrong: I love the holidays. The times when my family can be all together is great and creates new memories each year.

Like Captain Picard, though, I’ve begun to realize – at 33 – there are a limited number of Christmases ahead where my entire family will be able to be together.

That’s a morbid thought.

We all know our lifespans are limited, right? To be honest, I’m moderately okay with the fact that one day I will die. I’m actually more scared to have some sort of traumatic event and have to go through rehab from it. (Mostly because I’m lazy.)

For whatever reason, though, it’s really difficult for me to grasp the mortality of my parents.

When you’re born and throughout your childhood, your parents are basically gods. They know everything and love you while keeping you safe. Somewhere in your teens, you start to realize that – like you, though you won’t admit it – they are fallible.

Now, I’m at a stage in my life where my parents are both retired and they’re “older.” They’re not the parents I remember from grade school, but I’m also not the child they remember either.

While I do think we still have some great years left in us as a family, I’d be remiss to not accept the numerics.

Again, that’s morbid, but it’s realistic.

That makes me sad and it’s hard for me to keep my head wrapped around. It also causes a very emotional response from me this time of year. Driving back from my parents the final time as my sister heads back home and the holidays are symbolically over was a really hard moment for me.

I wish I had answers on how to handle this situation and the emotions. The only thing I know how to do is plow through.

What do you do? How do you handle this aspect of adulthood? Do you handle it? Let me know in the comments. Maybe we’ll learn from each other.

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