Thursday, December 22, 2011

Free Fall

The second commandment of Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project is to Let It Go.

Let. It. Go.

This is good advice for most people. It's even better advice for crazy achievement-oriented Type A people in the heart of the holiday season.

The holidays are full of opportunities to not let it go. There are parties to host and attend. There are cookies to bake, presents to wrap perfectly (as though Martha Stewart was watching and taking notes), fabulous meals to be made and sparingly consumed lest one won't be able to fit into the equally fabulous dresses that were purchased for previously noted parties.

There are traditions to be upheld, the holiday tea, the Christmas tree, the eight days of Hannukah, the youth choir holiday concert and, of course, the frameworthy cards with accompanying witty letter.

That's all in addition to the daily task of writing, editing and keeping up with many and varied social media outlets. Most holiday seasons I flit through November and December like an overcaffeinated bumble bee until suddenly I land. Usually, it's on the couch. Sometimes it's in bed. I'll rest for a few hours and then spring up, ready to tackle more traditions, more parties, more cookies, more, more, more.

This year is the same in a lot of ways. There are the same traditions and host of obligations (joyous and otherwise). There are the big, bright holiday-lit moments and the quieter ones that make you remember the meaning of the season. Except this year there is one difference.

This year I've let things go.

The cards went out (minus the letter), only one batch of cookies were baked (maybe I'll make more, maybe I won't), the parties were attended but I wore old outfits and I've abandoned my love of Bon Appetit's holiday dinner plan in favor of something simpler. That's right. This year I'm ordering in Chinese food.

Something else has happened this year. I feel more relaxed. There have been no temper tantrums (if only I were referring to the kids). Maybe it's my pretend zen, my uber-clean refrigerator, saying yes to the things I love, the check mark system or trying to live in the present moment.

 Or maybe it's just turning forty.

Whatever it is, I'm feeling calm, resilient and ready to kick off one hell of a New Year.

Let it go! It's a little like free-falling upwards.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

We don't overdo it around the holidays. And there was no letter in our cards either. Mostly because I did the cards this year!

Beylit said...

I try and be laid back about Holidays, but this year I am not sure I am succeeding in the least. I honestly can't decide though if it is holiday stress or stress from the husband being out of work and yet still trying to pull off the holiday we planned before he lost his job.
But hey, we might be cooking crazy meals for four nights straight, but I don't think I have ever sent out a Christmas card.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm looking forward to the holiday itself so I don't have to do anything.

Hart Johnson said...

See now, I am never the holiday overachiever... I don't need to let it go because I never picked it up. But the Let it go is ALSO extremely helpful for all those OTHER people we have no control over. The family stresses and the grouches and the lines. It's a mantra I picked up many years ago related to AlAnon...

Jenny S. Morris said...

It's awesome you have been able to let it go. I'm trying to just let this year be what it will, and not stress. The kids will love everything and they will be happy. (That what I keep repeating in my head).

LAH said...

I have recently become a big proponent of the "Let It Go" philosophy! Most recently I had to finally let myself stop revising my current manuscript for the thousandth time, and LET GO of my FEAR OF REJECTION-- time to begin the beastly task of querying.

Came to your blog from Writer Unboxed because I liked your comment about hoping your Tyrant doesn't get jealous of your Mistress-- bahaha very very true.

Megan Bostic said...

I try to be laid back during the holidays, but I just end up being a chaotic mess. I think I'll give up on being "laid back" this time of year. lol.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I'm all for letting it go. My feeling is that when a "tradition" becomes more burden than fun, it's time to give it a rest. I'm okay with the holidays being full of things we do "sometimes."

Sometimes we go to see the Christmas lights at Longwood Gardens; sometimes we host the holiday dinner or maybe a brunch; sometimes we go to our friends' annual Christmas Eve party and sometimes we don't. Sometimes my sister's family flies in from Kansas and stays with us; sometimes they don't. Makes every Christmas a little different.

The Bookworm said...

Thats great adivce to let it go and be more laidback, especially during the hectic holidays.
I do need to let things go more often myself. It's not worth the stress.
Happy Holidays to you and your family Johanna!

Astro Gremlin said...

What I wouldn't give to be 40. A wise Jedi once said, "Use the Force, Luke. Let go."