Linus and his blanket

Photo by Begoña Merino

The holidays are now long past and we’re full steam ahead into 2021.

I know I’m not the only one that’s happy to see 2020 gone and done with, but the holidays always leave trace thoughts with me long after they’ve past. This year, the thoughts stuck with me are not about COVID or politics, but rather of a small group of schoolchildren: the Peanuts gang.

I always give the Charlie Brown Christmas special a watch, partly for nostalgia and partly over the warm fuzzies that it always manages to give me, but this year especially I thought of Linus and his favourite blanket.

While others might see it as a punchline, I always thought it was an interesting choice for the character that’s often seen as the voice of reason. Linus is the one who comes to the microphone and speaks words to power about the true meaning of Christmas during my favourite special.

Not to mention he’s quite handy with that blanket of his when he wants to be.

But when he’s without it? He falls to pieces.

He’s still the same wise beyond-his-years young boy, but the blanket represents comfort, security and a place of self. It’s of no surprise that the objects of security are often our childhood blankets. Where else did we hide and find safety when the darkness of the world seemed overbearing in the frightening nightmares of our childhood?

However, although we may feel we’ve put childish things away, all too often I still see folks walk through their day-to-day with their own, personal but hidden, security blankets.

For me it is my mustache. 

I’ve had it for as long as I remember; it’s a creature comfort and a leftover from being considered a babyface for too many years.

It’s simple but meaningful. To me, it represents — forgive the pun — growth, and to a different extent, maturity.

But we all have our security blankets.

Think of your friend, we’ve all one, who’s rarely seen without a shirt and tie when out and about, even at more casual events.

Do you think that this individual is just always ready to head out to a job interview, even when you’re seeing them for that late-afternoon coffee?

There’s nothing wrong with looking fancy or well-dressed, of course. Just in the same way there’s nothing wrong with a well-applied face of make up, or our daily cup of designer coffee or — even most remarkably — a well-trimmed mustache.

But I think, like Linus and his blanket, it’s important to remember that the person behind the suit, behind the make-up and behind the coffee, is the one who’s managed to handle the hard times. It’s you who’s made it through, it’s you who has cracked the tough nuts of life and it is you who has remained steadfast in the face of pain, adversity and grief.

As long as we never forget that, there’s nothing wrong with embracing our creature comforts; the tools that help us go through our day-to-day and keep our anxieties at bay.

But just consider for one day facing the world as you are, with the bright shining strength of your own backbone and personality looking directly, without shade, at everything the world might throw at you.

I may have to do that myself one day and finally shave off my upper-lip warmer.

But easier said that done. Maybe when it finally warms up in spring.