10 January 2011 ~ 3 Comments

The Shoulds Will Haunt You

I’m back after a long hiatus of holiday merriment. It feels good to get back to my Joy Log. It’s become a good friend of mine.

I hope everyone had a joyous holiday season, even if you had to spend time with Aunt Lilly who you despise and your ex husbands mother Gertrude who picks her nose at the table. I hope somewhere along the way you were able to experience some joy.

It was really nice for me this year to focus on friends and relaxation over the holidays. We skipped most of the traditional Christmas hoop dee doo and left town.

We’re not big into giving and receiving gifts and we decided to skip a tree this year. I didn’t know how I would feel about that because I love having a live tree and decorating it.

Shouldn’t we have a tree, it’s Christmas? We always have a tree.  When I told my mother that we weren’t putting one up this year she said “Oh, but you love to have a tree, won’t you miss it? I know you, you’ll get one at the last minute.”  I said,” nope, no tree this year, we are going away.” ” Oh”, she said. I could hear the sadness in her voice.

“It’s ok mom, really.” She hates change and is somewhat attached to the idea of how things should be.

Shouldn’t we be with family?  Shouldn’t we buy lots of stuff for people?  Shouldn’t I bake?  It’s what I usually do at Christmas.

How is it going to feel if I don’t make a triple batch of my double chocolate espresso biscotti?  I’m sure to have a panic attack if I don’t make those little thumbprint cookies with the jam in the center. I always make those. What about the little snowball cookies rolled in powder sugar? Ahhhhh-I don’t think I can do it! I’ve got to bake! I’ve got all these tins to fill.

Nope, I didn’t bake a one. I made something new to give to friends this year, a cheese ball made with cream cheese, apricots, dates, nuts and some other yummy stuff in it. It was weird I must admit, but fun to break out of the cookie mold for a change.

If we get caught up in the shoulds of life we are going to suffer needlessly.

My plan when we got back from the beach was to spend NYE weekend quietly meditating and reflecting. Well, so much for that idea. At 3:00 on NYE everything changed, just like that. We ended up having a dinner party for six. I fought the idea for about 10 minutes… well this isn’t what I really planned and I don’t really want to cook, and I wasn’t planning on entertaining—-blah, blah, blah,

After the 10 minute head talk, I looked at the situation differently. Wow, I’ve got these very cool friends that want to spend time with me and have some fun on New Years Eve. We can all pitch in and we’ll have a great time.

With that, I changed my attitude, accepted that we are now going to have a party and started pulling out the china and crystal to set the table. I was now excited about the evening that was in store. I made the main dish and salad. Someone else brought a side, everyone brought wine and champagne, someone brought dessert and we had a ball.

At midnite we went outside with my pots and pans and clanged them loudly to ring in the new year. A new experience for everyone.

We took a stroll downtown and watched all of the young crazy people coming out of the Avett brothers concert. 3 am rolled around and Ken and I were still up doing dishes thinking about the wonderful night we had just had with great friends.

If I had gotten stuck in the should of how things were supposed to be….I would have missed out on a heck of a good time. I took New Years Day to reflect and meditate on my wonderfully joyous life. I am truly grateful for the challenges-uh, the growth-uh-uh, the sadness-uhhhhh, and the joy. I am especially grateful for my husband, my family and my friends who make my world a brighter place to live in.

If you didn’t like how the holidays went this year, I encourage you to be brave and take stock on how you might make it better next year by letting go of some of the shoulds. It does take some courage, and you may make some enemies, but you won’t be resentful. Bring joy to the holidays in a whole new way. Create your own traditions. Discuss your ideas with your family and friends for next year and maybe they’ll be open to a new way of thinking.

We chose to go away with friends at Christmas. We laughed together, ate together, drank together and appreciated each other. That was my gift to them and a huge gift to myself.

How will you make the holidays more joyous next year?

Please share some of your creative Christmas ideas with us so we can work on having a more joyous Christmas next year.

I hope your 2011 is full of surprises and joyous moments.

Experience Joy And Pass It On!

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3 Responses to “The Shoulds Will Haunt You”


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