I’ve been trying to figure out why this time of year bugs me. Everywhere, everything is all: New Year, New You! 10 Ways to Make Resolutions Stick! 5 Best Diets to Drop the Holiday Pounds! How to Make 2015 Your Best Year Ever!!! Meanwhile, we’ve barely arrived home from our holiday travels, bags still packed with dirty laundry, Christmas debris all over the house where we left it. I’m exhausted and the year just started. Making lists and promises, fresh starts and new habits will have to wait till I’m done processing the holidays.
This year was both different, and the same. The kids are getting older and wiser, but their excitement level was as high as ever. Even as I tried to match their mood, I found I did not have the desire to do things I’ve done in the past – the decorating, the crafting, the cards, the cookies. I didn’t even unpack my favorite Christmas decoration this year, the chiming angel candle holder.
In some ways, this was our most peaceful Christmas so far. We did less shopping and entertaining, did more spontaneous family outings like weeknight visits to see the lights and train garden. We lounged around in front of the fire, watched Christmas specials on TV, enjoyed the cute photos on the Christmas cards we received.
But the holidays were also filled with the inevitable slights and disappointments, tensions and frustrations. Everyone was sick. Everyone got too little sleep, too much sugar. No one got everything they wanted. Everyone was on their infernal phones constantly. Everywhere, everyone wanted more, more, more – one more donation, one more cookie exchange, one more holiday get-together, one more thing on the to-do list.
In spite of it all, though, there were moments of true joy:
An impromptu, multi-generational sing-along in front of the tree.
Sick kids who slept peacefully through Christmas eve dinner, allowing the grownups to linger over dessert and conversation.
Ice cream sundaes and a sparkling-cider toast with the grandparents on New Year’s Eve.
A New Year’s day romp in the park with 2 kids and 2 big dogs, running and laughing and leaping as the cold winter sunlight pierced the late-morning sky and did nothing to warm our frostbitten fingers.
And the infernal phones were used to play Christmas music, look up hymn lyrics, track Santa, and FaceTime with flu-ridden relatives.
Author Sue Monk Kidd gave a great interview on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday in which she said, “We have to acknowledge sometimes that this moment is enough, this place is enough, I am enough.” And that’s what the holidays were for me this year – not perfect, but enough.
SMK also said at one point, “It’s important to be a seeker but also to acknowledge when we’ve actually found something.”
And that, I think, is my issue with New Year’s. All that focus on seeking and striving. A better body and a neater house. Closer relationships and more vegetables. OK. But I need another minute to reflect on what I found last year before moving on to what I’m still seeking this year.
I read somewhere, “There’s nothing magical about Jan. 1.” You can start fresh any time you want. February’s looking good to me. Or maybe March.
NEWS O’ THE DAY: If you like the pictures in this post, many are from my Instagram feed. Come follow me there (@abbyofftherecord) for between-blog-post snaps of nature, cool things I encounter in my travels, and sometimes my kids.