Today is December 1st, and I am beginning the NaBloPoMo challenge to write a new post each day for the month of December. I will be posting here every day, so jump on board for 30 days of Joy! Some posts will be short, some may be less than amazing, I hope that some will be profound and sweet. Take a minute to check in and see what we’re up to.
Since my personal project right now is eking out extra ounces of joy from of my daily life, I think this will be a good general theme for the holiday season. After all, this is the time when we are all supposed to be enjoying ourselves! Which brings me to my title, enjoying the holidays whether you like it or not. Even without any added concentration on finding happiness, there is a general pressure to have fun and celebrate during the winter holiday season. There are many occasions to get together with friends and family, which can make this the sweetest time of year. There are also many complicated feelings that come along with the holidays. Difficult memories, financial hardship, absence of loved ones, the list goes on. My commitment to enjoying life more comes hand in hand with its mirror image and counterpart, experiencing the reality of each moment even when it includes uncomfortable feelings. What I want to devote myself to is not just enjoying life, but loving life, and all its strange adventures.
Today on a walk with my kids we stopped to sit on a bench and I held Ella on my lap while I played with Ben. He had some trucks and tiny plastic knights and we were playing a game that involved the truck trying to get past the knight. I found myself genuinely laughing when the secret password was “Please can I go through?” Apparently some of what we try to teach him actually sticks in that complicated mind of his! For me, the key word here is genuine. We were spending time playing, present in the moment, being silly and having fun.
Just afterward It occurred to me that part of what gets in my way of feeling free to do that all the time is that life can be so unpredictable and challenging! Why would I sign myself up to fully experience the uncomfortable and sometimes painful feelings that come along with these experiences? Because that is the only way I can really revel in the surprises that are around every corner! I think a lot of my reluctance to be present comes from not liking surprises, which is really not liking unpleasant surprises, also known as disappointment. No one likes to be disappointed! Managing expectations is difficult! I’ll let you know when I figure it out. Actually, I will share the bits and pieces I uncover along the way, because I honestly hope to never think I have it all figured out. For now, I am thankful for my family, and ready to explore and embrace whatever the next 30 days has in store for me. I hope you will come along for the ride.