So, I am home from a visit to my parents for Christmas. And a thought occurs to me. If you want to keep your sanity in life, you’ve got to know what you really want. Know your priorities. Know what’s worth digging in your heels for, and what’s worth shrugging your shoulders for and letting it be.
There is no better time to learn this lesson than during the holidays. As my fellow Purple Inker, Meg, pointed out in her holiday post, a lot of what we do in life is “just too much.” Sanity, in my mind, involves recognizing when too much is too much, and then just saying no.
Sure, sure, easier said than done. I get that. But if you cave in to the pressure, you’re going to lose a little bit of your sanity, and you have to be prepared to accept that. If you’re not prepared to accept it, then you have to say no. It’s that simple.
I’ve learned over the years that I can’t say yes to everyone’s demands. At times, I forget this…and I rush around trying to get to everyone’s house to visit, to every store to look for presents, to go crazy over writing Christmas cards. But it’s not worth it. Why? Because gifts are often overrated. Because I send more cards than I receive. Because I don’t enjoy visiting when I’m exhausted.
So I do what I can. And more importantly, I make sure I do what I really want to do, most of the time.
This isn’t as selfish as it sounds.
If there’s an emergency, I’ll be there. If it’s a holiday, I will make plans either to see my family or call them or email them, to acknowledge their existence and my love for them. If I’m invited somewhere, I’ll go if it fits in my schedule and if I’m up for it.
But if I’m tired and in need of rest, or if I need some “me” time, or if I have other obligations, or frankly if I can’t afford something, I willingly say no thanks. No isn’t no forever; it’s just no right now.
Plus, at the holidays especially, life is going to be about compromises. The more I’m able to recognize the things I can compromise about, the easier it is for me to relax and enjoy the moment. If Mom wants to see a certain movie, while Dad wants to see another (which did happen this Christmas), I let them hash it out, because I’m really there to spend time with them and I don’t care much what we see or don’t see. It’s just a movie.
But when they tell me I don’t need to buy any food for the Christmas Eve dinner party, I do it anyway, because I really do want a shrimp ring and some Riesling. So I ignore them and buy it anyway, because I really want it, and because I can afford it.
That’s one of the keys to enjoying your holiday…and your whole life. Don’t give in to the temptation to do, say, go, buy, or eat too much. Instead, do your best to do what you really want to do. Make compromises when you can. Do the most important things, the things that you truly will regret if you don’t do them. And let the other stuff go. Life’s more fun that way, trust me.