Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Slowing Down The Holidays

What a great combination of events I experienced yesterday. It was my first day back to work after being on vacation for ten days, it was Monday, and it rained all day. I also experienced something called "Back to Work Re-Adjustment Anxiety Syndrome". A few cups of coffee, a couple of hundred emails, and a system problem that sent everyone in the office emails telling them they weren't going to get a paycheck this week jolted me back into coherence. Now I feel like I never left. I did enjoy my time off and it was mostly a good experience. I am grateful for vacations and despite my occasional desire to never work another day in my life, I must admit that I am a person who needs structure and a reason to get out of bed. Too many days with nothing to do and I would turn into a human cauliflower.

This is the last week of November. This time of year always seem to be in hyper drive. Before the pumpkins turned to mush we were already thinking about turkeys. At my house we are still eating Thanksgiving leftovers and yesterday I saw my first advertisement for a New Year's Eve dance. Lets all just slow it down a bit! The commercial Christmas season can feel like a runaway train. Every year I tell myself to focus on the true meaning of Christmas and every year I feel run over by the Christmas train. The sad thing is that I don't even do much at Christmas besides take orders from my wife. She drives the train. She's the engineer. I'm riding in the caboose. All of the behind the scenes magic that makes our traditional Christmas morning nice is because of all the work she does. You've never seen anyone crunch the numbers like my wife. Somehow everyone seems to get what they want without my wife and I having our home repossessed. That alone is a Christmas miracle.

If you celebrate Christmas, and not everyone does, it's a good thing to not get totally overwhelmed with the gift buying and multitude of voices telling you what Christmas should be. Seek some balance in your life between the gift giving and the soul searching. Be as generous as you can but not to the detriment of your life. Find some quiet moments in the madness of shopping and wrapping presents. Take some time each day to simply breathe. Don't let the stress of the holidays destroy the joy that should also be there. The greatest gifts are the people in our lives. I can't even remember the material gifts I received last year.

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