Happy? Holidays…and how to keep yourself happy.

This is a tale of being happy during that time of the year called the holiday season , or in some folks cases, not so very happy. Each of us was gifted with a covering called skin. They come in a variety of shades, some with freckles, some with scars, and some with what seems to be varying thickness. Mine is somewhere in the middle on the thickness scale. The times that test that thickness I find seems to be everyone’s favorite? time of the year. Those Hallmark moments called Holidays. Most come with a merry or a happy as a prefix but the more people I encounter, the more I see for a lot of us it may not necessarily be true. It’s not always the most wonderful time of the year. I remember an Easter years ago that I spent painting my apartment. It was a great day. I was productive. I was covered with paint but getting something done that I didn’t have any other time to do it. Then the phone calls came and I was reprimanded which then lead to feeling guilty. I was being made to feel something that had nothing to do with me but had to do with everyone else. I was content being creative. I was happy. I was alone and I was good with that. Nothing screams peace, or should I say whispers peace like the sound of silence around you.
Obligations can drive some crazy. Driving here, driving there, eating too much at the family table and hours away doing something you may not want to be doing. When we were kids it was over the river and through the woods to grandmothers house we’d go. It was fun and we were happy, at least until our teenage years when life intervened and then we had better things to do, friends to hang with, and not lame relatives. Remember that? How attitudes change through our lives and as we get older and the old folks population kept decreasing we realized that maybe we should be happy to spend some holiday time with them. Or maybe we were even guilted into it perhaps. So what to do with this quandary? How do you try to be happy about something that any other day would be fine to do but maybe today you just don’t feel like it. You’ve got a project to do and no time, the kids are sick and miserable, and this is your one day to get it done. What do you do???
I have a lot of friends who are divorced and the holidays are a very tough time and if they have kids, even worse. Dividing your time so that everyone gets a piece of the childhood to share, a day for you and a day for me. It does not make people happy. Sooooo….how do you change your attitude and embrace the necessary? Boundaries….set them. If you cannot devote an entire day at Grandma Lou’s, set aside a few hours. There is no law that says you have to be there at the crack of dawn and drive home asleep after dark. Just because things were always done a certain way does NOT mean that those things can’t change. Have discussions on what works for you and re arrange the set in stone tradition. Create new traditions. Nothing pisses people off more (and a lot of people I know can carry grudges all of their days) than being told you HAVE to do something you don’t want to do JUST BECAUSE that’s the way it always was. Let folks know what you want. Stand up, speak up because if you do not, that little mean voice within you is only going to throw a tantrum later on anyone who happens to be around because you are once again mad at yourself. Set clear and concise boundaries…What is acceptable to you and stand your ground on it. If it pisses people off, too bad. It’s not all about them. It is about compromise. It is about staying happy on the Happy Holiday. Your time is valuable, just as your thoughts about yourself are valuable. Make the changes that will work for you.
It doesn’t mean blow off every family event so do not think I am saying that (but if that is your choice it is all on you) but live your life the way you want.
You are living your play, living your Broadway showstopper life and you are the director. The actors around are there to support your dream but they have their expectations too. That you will play fair and find some enjoyment in what they do. Now there may not be a Tony for your directing skills but that’s ok. There’s always the Oscar to reach for. Go big or go home, right?
You can have happy holidays, or any happy days in general. Just make sure you are spending the time doing what you want to be doing and not just forced into doing. Baby steps to happy begin with change and boundaries are just another step to getting there. Now, back to Grandma’s house….I think 3 till 7 works out just fine, cards with the old folks ain’t my thing and the dog at home needs attention too…and so do I, in a little quieter environment with my blanket and glass of wine.


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