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