NOW we are in the aftermath. The “undoing“ of Christmas. The messiness. Throwing away paper. Making exchanges. Packing up until next year. I have a question for you. Did this Christmas live up to your EXPECTATIONS??
The rush towards Christmas Day is one full of being in overdrive and feeling completely overwhelmed. In fact this year I took to answering my phone “corporate headquarters of the OVERWHELMED. Can we help you?”
So much emphasis is placed on the perfect family picture. In the perfect outfit. YIKES! Finding the outfit that still FITS! Choosing the perfect setting. No matter who is mad at who or who is a little “altered.”
More emphasis is placed on the perfect gift and having an extra gift in case someone shows up that you hadn’t counted on giving you a gift.
We plan. We make lists. We lose and remake lists. And then we begin again. Countless texts and emails go back-and-forth to family members deciding on plans and menu items. Do you have the person that says…“it doesn’t matter to me” and then they complain about where the squash casserole is that mama used to make? It’s maddening! How many times did we utter “that’s SO Passive aggressive” under our breath. Between sleep deprivation because we are up late wrapping presents and drinking too much we get into arguments that would never have happened.
What if December 25th was just A DAY ???
I don’t have any living family. It is very strange to be in the world without relatives. It is weird not to be making Christmas arrangements. But it can also be FREEING. I stayed in my workout clothes all day. I tried to clean up my house because FEMA would turn around and say “no thanks lady we can’t help.” And then something happened. A friend texted me to come over and have brunch. I accepted. She arrived to get me in her pajamas. My kind of friend.
Later, another friend texted to see if I wanted to go on a walk. I accepted. I FaceTimed with another friend “just as I was” in my workout clothes. I never even managed to put on a bra.
I realized the poet John Donne was correct “no man is an island.” I accepted every single invitation and my house is still messy. But I had FUN being with friends. I realized maybe it is a good thing not to have expectations. Because if they are not met and we did not get the perfect present we are not disappointed. I woke up on the 25th and said as I do every day a prayer of gratitude that I was here another day.
In my prayer on the morning of December 25th I closed with a smile. I realized that in that moment the world had opened itself to me in possibilities. I had to have faith and hope that something good was going to happen. And it did.
I don’t think you have to be as drastic as I am and make this discovery when you don’t have family. You can make it starting today. You can go ahead and try to set out and make each holiday, each day really, special and perfect but maybe balance those expectations with the notion that each day BLOOMS and SPARKLES with possibilities for us to discover. Even holidays. Even failures. My New Year’s resolution is for balance. In my personal life and in my body. I want to stay upright. What is your unspoken wish or desire as you begin the New Year? Maybe it is just to throw out expectations and live quite freely and happily in the moment….