Time to dial back to normal

Well, it’s been a wonderful long weekend full of food, food, and more food. Those long afternoon walks with the dogs didn’t happen, although we did catch up on our napping. My house is clean and my pants are feeling a bit snug. It’s nice to take a break from routine once in a while, but now it’s time to get back to normal meals and normal activities.

Fortunately for me, nothing about my life generates stress at this time of year. I don’t have kids or in-laws, I will make only one road trip (at Christmas, for a week or 10 days) with my dogs, and my to-buy-for list is limited to my niece and nephew by family agreement. People in my social circle do not throw holiday parties that I must attend, and there are few events happening in my town that I don’t want to miss. So the holidays are really not stressful at all unless the weather gets ugly when I need to be on the road, but even that is a minor inconvenience and there’s nothing I can do ahead of time to change what the road conditions will be so I don’t stress about that either.

I see so many people jumping into what I call the Freakout Boat at this time of year, acting every day as if their feet were nailed to the floor and their hair were on fire, to use my sister’s memorable phrase. Their lives are a barely manageable frenzy of shopping and cooking and cleaning and entertaining between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Some of my friends simply drop off the social map altogether for the next month, unable even to answer their phones, let alone make time to have lunch or take a walk or see anybody at all who is not related to them, apparently. I have never understood it.

Even when I was a kid, I don’t remember my folks going crazy at this time of year. But then again, they spent nearly every single Thanksgiving and Christmas at home, and mainly just had to worry about getting gifts for their kids. I don’t have any good role models for full-throttle Black Friday shopping, competitive gift giving, and over-the-top entertaining as both hostess and guest. Christmas in my family has always been about family and simply being together. We keep that focus very tight, which eliminates a whole lot of stressful, expensive and ultimately meaningless activity from our lives.

So tomorrow it’s back to yoga, the gym, my web design lessons, and my everyday, ordinary life. Just the way I like it.

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