|See how Santa is already burned out? METAPHOR.|
I follow quite a few simplicity blogs (which you have to admit is kind of ironic because how hard can simplicity be?), and over at The Simple Year a couple weeks back, Tracy posted this:
Today it occurred to me that New Year’s resolutions are improperly timed. Resolutions are more necessary at this time of year. Then, when the new year arrives, you didn’t eat too much or spend too much or drink too much.
You know what, Tracy? Word up.
And, then, like the Universe was actually trying to teach me something, I read THIS from Courtney Carver at Be More With Less:
Things build up day after day, week after week, and month after month. A new year offers hope for a clean slate, but we sometimes forget about the opportunity of a new day. Why do we have to wait for January 1st for a fresh start?
(You should actually read this entire post, which is entitled "Create the Promise of a New Day with a Clean Slate." Go ahead, I'll wait...)
Reading Tracy's post inspired me to make my own holiday resolution list, and Courtney's reminded me that every single day is an opportunity to start over, no matter what has happened the day before. My mother likes to say that we choose to have a happy heart; why can't we choose a daily clean slate?
The holidays are, traditionally, kind of a rough time for me. My introverted, minimalist heart does not like all the commotion and chaos and advertisements telling me I need to buy this or spend this much so the people I love know that I love them. Add to that the sadness I feel this year after losing my grandpa (you guys, how can he be gone? I still can't wrap my mind around that, even after six months), and... let's just say I don't really look forward to December at all.
Which is kind of a dismal way to look at what is supposed to be a magical month.
So I took this whole notion of holiday resolutions very seriously is what I'm saying. What did I want out of this month? This holiday season? From myself?
Not the complete list, but here are some of the (better, perhaps overly optimistic) intentions I came up with:
1. To survive. I don't have to get through this ordeal prettily; I just need to get through. Pressure off!
2. To remember that this time with my family is a gift. It's easy for me to forget that I love these people more than anything in the world. Abby is already a junior in high school; Johanna turns 11 in just a couple of weeks. Eric is the rock on which my world is built. We're in the golden era of our family. This is the time to enjoy it.
3. Is this XYZ self-destructive? If it is (staying up too late, eating that eighth cookie, forgetting to introvert, not exercising, forgetting to be kind), then I will NOT DO THAT THING. (This is actually a new life resolution, now that I think about it.)
4. It's okay to feel sad and miss my loved ones. I'm not likely to forget that we lost Gramps this year, and I always miss my Grammie M something terrible this season too. Oh, and the anniversary of my miscarriage is Dec. 6, and Grandpa M's death Dec. 12. I will remember them, I will send them my love and hold them in my heart, and I will be sad when I am sad -- and happy when I am happy. Hey, it goes both ways.
5. It's okay to be frustrated but it's NOT okay to be a jerk. Yeah. I'm not actually all that great of a person to be around sometimes. But there's no reason to lash out when I find I'm not surviving, remembering to enjoy time with Eric and the girls, feeling self-destructive and sad and overwhelmed. I can choose to have a happy heart and make my Mommy proud! ;)
6. Take all the naps! (I think that's pretty self-explanitory.)
...And if I fail at any of these (and, let's face it, I will), I can start over the next day! Or even that next minute. (Courtney is a genius.)
Besides keeping these resolutions in mind, I'm also making time for a couple of other activities that are just good for my soul: Courtney's 31 Gifts You So Deserve (can you tell I'm a big fan of this woman?) and Bishop Robert Barron's Advent Reflections. Both are delivered via email each morning; I try to read them when the house is quiet, but if the world is against me, I wait until lunchtime. I've been making journal pages based on Courtney's gifts (it's not too late to sign up, by the way... there's a nominal fee, but it's totally worth it), which has been both a great way to not only appreciate them, but be creative, present in the moment, and open to the magic of the season. The same goes for Bishop Barron -- I copy passages that resonate with me so I can look back and be reminded of what Advent is about, not just in December, but always.
My journal is getting quite the workout these days, actually. It is AWESOME.
So that's the roadmap I'm following this month. I am hopeful that this will be a peaceful December in my heart and soul because of it.
What would make your holiday resolutions list?
What would make your holiday resolutions list?