It's December 2nd, and the holiday season is officially in full swing. We've all just survived Thanksgiving, only to be thrown head first into the Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza/December Land of Craziness. This is normally the season of stress, anxiety, and overwhelm for me. At least it has been since I had kids.
And, sadly, most every year, I am blindsided by all of this.
Sigh. I know.
If it happens every year and I, theoretically, know it's coming, how can I be blindsided?
Your guess is a good as mine.
Every year it's...
Why am I so stressed?
Why can't I handle all of this as well as everybody else?
Why am I having more anxiety attacks?
Why is my stomach upset?
Why am I stress eating?
Why am I gaining weight?
And, every year it's then...
Oh, right, I always get stressed this time of year.
Oh, right, I need to get back to self care.
Oh, right, I need to let things go and enjoy myself.
What I really struggle with is letting this whole scenario be okay.
Yes, this happens every year. Yes, I'm still blindsided. Yes, I'm stressed. And, yes, ALL OF THIS IS OKAY.
Getting stressed-out is okay. It does not mean I'm a failure. Forgetting that I get stressed out at the same time every year is also okay. Still not a failure.
This does not mean I'm an idiot. Even if it feels like it does, in fact, prove exactly that. It just means that I'm human.
I am human.
I make mistakes.
I am not always on top of things.
I get stressed out.
I sometimes want to rest instead of doing the things.
I mishandle my emotions.
I forget to take care of myself.
And that's okay.
I get judgy when I slack-off. But I still slack off. And then I wallow in my conflicted feelings. I am a hodgepodge of contradictions and conflicting emotions, as all of us humans are. I am a buckle-down and get it done girl. I am also a slack off and eat chips on the couch while watching Hallmark movies when there's work to do girl. I am hard core and low key. I'm an over achiever and a slacker. I'm filled with guilt and shame, but also confidence and glee. All at the exact same time.
And this is also okay.
NaNoWriMo was both tough and easy for me this year. Regardless, I managed to finish 50,000 words, and I like my book already, despite it's rough draft short-comings, and the fact that I still have to write a good 20-30,000 words to finish it. I had fun writing a lot of the time (though not all of it) and for once I don't feel completely dead of all writing energy at the end of Nano. I actually want to keep at it this December. And I hope I will. Though maybe I won't.
Either way, it's okay.
|A Woody Guthrie.|
|Not actual photo of boyfriend.|
It was good. It was bad. It was all okay.
The next day I could barely be bothered to get off the couch. I was so drained from all the planning, preparation, and socializing. I was a blob of goo.
So, did I meditate and do yoga to take care of myself?
No. No, I did not. I ate more junk and watched tv.
So, tonight, I acknowledge what I've been doing. I remember the lessons I've learned and re-learned ten times before. And I put the brakes on. I meditate. I stretch. I read a book and chill. And I remind myself of my deeper why.
Why do I participate in Nano? To practice my craft. To hone my writing skills so that one day I might write a book that makes a person I don't even know feel understood, and a little less alone in the world.
Why do I host Thanksgiving? To be around my family, who I love so dearly and genuinely adore spending time with.
Why do I do all the Christmas things I do? To bring joy to my family and myself. To give my kids and myself warm memories of love and family and home.
What's this all for? Love.
What's it all about? Love.
This is my reminder. This is your reminder too, dear reader.
This is your reminder to think of your deeper why. To focus on THAT this season, and not the long list of things to do.
There's a push-pull to life that I'm just beginning to appreciate. It's not so much balance as it is this push-pull. I always imagined "life balance" as this tight rope we were supposed to walk, staying balanced right in the middle.
Tip right. Adjust. Tip left. Adjust.
But it isn't like that. Not really.
It's more like puddle jumping. Both feet into one puddle, then both feet into another.
It's messier like that, too.
Maybe the key is to find peace with that.
With the puddles and the water and the mud. With the balance that isn't really balance at all.
This is that time in life when we realize that we are in control of, well, pretty much nothing. An especially hard lesson for all of us who adopted "attempting to control everything in our world" as a coping mechanism for feeling out of control in our childhoods.
Letting go of that white knuckle grip on imagined control is, like mediation and yoga, a practice. You don't just figure it out and are magically fixed. You must practice letting go again, and again, and again, and again. Ad infinitum.
And so it is a lesson we learn and relearn all the days.
But we get better and faster at it over time.
So we got that going for us.
Which is nice.
Until next time, let it go.
And jump in the puddles with both feet.
|In loving memory of one of our family who's|
missing this holiday: Sydney.