Monday, December 20, 2010

"Tis the season to"

All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was.  I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory.  I was naive.  I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer.  It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with:  that I am nobody but myself.

~Ralph Ellison, "Battle Royal"

While I love various holidays for various different reasons, I must admit that Christmas is my favorite.  I love that it bring friends and family together to share joyous moments, but I think I'm more drawn to the creativeness that it brings out in people.  People who could care less about the latest designer trend, all of a sudden find themselves designing how their house will look once fully lit up with thousands of lights.  They're out at the stores buying inflatable Santa's and snowmen to put on their front lawn without a second thought to whether or not they're going over the top.  I both appreciate and applaud these people since it enables me to keep the tradition that my Mother started when we were younger. 

Every Christmas, she would pick a day that we would all pile into the car and drive around and grade every one's works of arts.  She didn't care how long we were in the car or how far we had to go.  She loved seeing our faces light up when we would see the granddaddy of all houses lit up and would only repeat the word "wow" over and over. It was the simplest gift she gave to us and without knowing it, it was the simplest gift we were giving her.  We were giving her the gift of revisiting her own childhood wonder of Christmas.  It was something that couldn't be wrapped up in pretty paper with a nice shiny bow on it, but it was appreciated just as much as if it were.

With the new year fast approaching, I, like many other people, have felt the daunting task of figuring out what my New Year's resolutions would be along with trying to find that perfect gift for people on my list.  One year, I had myself and my boys write down what our goals were and then we would open them up the next year to see what we actually accomplished.  It was great to see what goals two young boys had and shocking how grown up some of their resolutions were.  But this year, I'm less inclined to write down what my resolutions are.  I think I've come to a point where instead of saying what I will or will not do in 2011, I would rather just live in 2011.  I would rather find a way to keep that feeling of excitement and wonder in me all throughout the year and not just dust it off and bring it out during Christmas.

Between all the hustle and the bustle of the holiday season, I want to take time to remember how it feels to see snow for the first time and actually enjoy the beauty of it instead of dreading how slippery it's going to be.  Instead of seeing a long line and getting frustrated, I will practice the art of patience and maybe even throw on a smile while I'm waiting.  Instead of rushing here and there so I can get as many things done in one day, I'll take my time and enjoy the moments I have in the car with my boys where they seem to say the funniest things some times. 

But the most important thing I will do is to love being me.  I'll love the way I can turn down sweets at work and then find myself rummaging through my cabinets once I get home.  I'll love the way that I laugh at myself when I trip over myself sometimes and can't figure out how I managed to do so.  I'll love the way I'll miss my boys while at work and then have to play referee once I pick them up and then start all over the next day.  I'll love that I have a ton of ideas but sometimes get sidetracked easily and wind up accomplishing only to just move things around from one place to another.  I'll love that a good day for me involves being curled up on the couch watching Matlock or Murder She Wrote.  I'll love that some days my hair does what I want it to do and other days it looks like it has a mind of its own. 

While some of these things may not be appreciated by others, it's who I am and what makes me unique.  So my gift to myself is to go easy on me.  If I decide to do something one day and change my mind the next day, I'm entitled.  That's the great thing of being a work in progress.  You can find out what works and what doesn't and make adjustments along the way.  So in the spirit of giving, I'm giving myself the memories of what it feels like to not put boundaries on myself and just live life.  The gift that keeps on giving all throughout the year.


(Conquering the world, one stylish step at a time)