Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Surviving traditions

The holidays really stress me out. For a while I thought it was just me. I thought I was this strange anomaly of a daughter / niece / cousin / friend who couldn't find the joy in running from obligation to obligation, in lousy weather, while I bleed money, during the busiest time of my work year. 

Back in December, I went to talk with my counselor (yep, still have one of those) who assured me I was not alone. In fact, I had trouble making a January appointment because he was over-booked... due to the holidays.

We talked about traditions and how difficult it can be when they change. Whether it's decorating, or gifts, or meals, or whatever... even if it's stressful, most people have trouble letting go. In fact, he told me that for many people, changing a tradition can be even more stressful than the tradition itself.
My traditions have changed so much over the last 10 years, I'm at the point where I've stopped
counting on them. I feel like my only constant at the holidays is not knowing what will happen, where I'll be, or who will show up.

You know what I have found? That's OK with me. 

I used to think traditions made me feel better. That I found joy in being sure about what, where, and who. Then, things shifted and it was out of my control, and I realized... that wasn't making me happy at all.

What keeps me happy is knowing that everyone else is happy. Meeting everyone else's expectations, keeping them satisfied and comfortable - that's what matters to me.

I started to accept that I can't make others happy, I can only let them be happy. So - even though it's a little frustrating on the fourth Tuesday in November that I have no idea where I'm eating in two days... it's what makes everyone else happy, and that is OK. 

I remind myself of a couple of things:

  • I know where I won't be - at my apartment. I just have to show up somewhere.
  • If I don't get an invite, I can always get sushi. 
It isn't easy letting go of traditions that have been around since childhood. I still struggle with it sometimes. But I have found it can be a relief to not worry about making others happy and let them do that for themselves. It was also a little empowering to realize that letting traditions change means you can start to carve out your own, new traditions that really honor what you want to celebrate in your life. What's more, allowing letting things go leaves me free to change things up for myself, because my life is definitely not done changing.

Once you open yourself up to the idea that change is OK - suddenly, traditions (or lack thereof) don't seem so bad.

Friday, December 29, 2017


It's been a while - as my friend Chuck Miller has pointed out more than once.

There's no real reason for my absence. Life is good - great, in fact. I guess I've just let writing and sharing get away from me.

I generally don't like to make "new year" resolutions. I know they work for many, but I am pretty bad at the follow through. For years I have tried to avoid the "eat better, exercise more" resolution trap. It always seems to unravel fast and I end up feeling like a failure, which discourages me to the point where I just stop, and so on and on and on.

But if I were to make resolutions... now would be the right time. So here are few things I may try for 2018:

  • Write more - blogs, journal entries, letters
  • Read more
  • Go somewhere new
  • Pray more

Now, if all goes well, you will read more from me next week! Until then - here's to a wonderful 2018!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Little things

I feel like I am constantly surrounded by negative. Whether it's from the news, or my social media feeds, or just inside my own head, there's so much that brings me down. Once the negative thoughts are in my head, it's very hard for me to break free. 

So I'm happy when I'm able to take some pleasure in appreciating the little things.
  • My office building lost power today - so I worked from home and took lunch at my pool. 
  • My friend just picked up his new puppy, who he has named Lionel Ritchie. How cute is that?!
  • I received a lovely text from my Little's mom the other day, thanking me for all I do (I really don't think I do very much, but it was very nice to hear). 
  • I am able to hide political posts, and have been doing so successfully - to the point where I got all the way through yesterday without knowing it was Donald Trump's birthday.
  • For every political thing my friends like or share, there are at least three wonderful stories from other friends - like this one.
  • I am going on vacation again with my favorite person - to a new ballpark!