Saturday, November 23, 2013

Mid-Month Musings

I know that technically, this isn't exactly "mid-month," but I like alliteration and literal truth is so limiting sometimes.  Now that we have that out of the way . . .

I've begun to Take Stock.  To recap, the whole shebang actually started during the 2012 holiday season, when I nearly went out of my mind with stress and unmet, unreasonable expectations.  I swear, I'd never let anyone else talk to me the way I let myself go off on me.  Nuts, and all the more reason to surround oneself with good friends who won't put up with me doing that sort of thing.  So when we had the holidays in our rear-view mirror, FryDaddy and I sat down and applied our oversized academic pointy-brains to our own behavior - what had we learned from the chaos?

Thus began the plan - with The List.

With The List as a guide, I've spent this last year really trying to reshape some fundamental aspects of my life and how I live it.  At the heart of this experiment journey has been the advice of Samuel Johnson - "To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition."  (I've got that written across my mantelpiece, by the way.)  Knowing that I have no control over large swathes of my life, what could I do to make my home happier, more of a haven against the random cruelties and small indifferences of the world?

Thus began January.

Not everything is sweetness and light.  I still get bent out of shape way too easily, BUT - I can report some rather sizable successes, and we still have about five weeks to go in the year.  I'll recap all of that in my usual monthly check-in, but for now, I'd like to just say this:

The holiday season is upon us.  Don't lose your cool.  The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy, peace, prosperity, and All Things Good.  Maybe your year hasn't been the best - there may be illness to contend with, or financial distress, or loss, or a hundred other things that happen to good people.

Find joy anyway.

Do it on the cheap, if you need to.  But take it from me, you're so much better off than you probably think you are.  That's not to say you don't have troubles and that life sometimes isn't painfully unfair.  But if you're reading this blog, you've got Internet access, which probably means you've got four sturdy walls and a roof.  I bet you've got both reliable electricity and clean, hot water available at the turn of a tap.  You might even have a pot of soup bubbling on the stove and a friend to share it with.

If so, take it from me.  You're better off than so very, very many.  You don't have what your neighbors have?  Big deal.  They very well might not have what you're taking for granted.  Heck, I woke up this morning grumping at the amount of weekend work I have to do when, lo and behold, there was a knock at the door, and eight college elves announced their presence - they were here to finish some yard work they had started last weekend, but hadn't been able to finish before dark.  They were young, energetic, cheerful, polite, and were giving up their Saturday morning to rake a stranger's yard.

Not too shabby.

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