For years, I would roll into the holiday season with joint goals of keeping up my normal work schedule and also celebrating the season doing the little rituals that I love. Invariably, I would find myself dealing with issues, events and people I had not factored into my plans.
Here’s the story of how I learned that you can either choose to be happy, or not.
Shedding the frustrations of holiday chaos
The holiday season arrives. Suddenly, there are elementary school events to attend, work parties for my wife where I don’t know anyone, and holiday shopping crowds that need to be battled in order to meet gifting obligations. My calendar begins to feel more chaotic than ever. And I become frustrated.
I grit my teeth at the check out lines, argue with my wife about what school pageants really need to be witnessed in person, and drag my feet to get ready for holiday gatherings that I know I’m going to end up attending anyway. When it’s all over, everyone is irritated with me and I still end up attending the pageants and parties and fulfilling all the obligations.
Then, one day, it occurs to me just how foolish this approach is.
So I sit down and write a note on my calendar for December 1st of the following year. It reads, “You are going to attend events and deal with problems this month. You are going to be invited to things you don’t know about and you will be expected to attend. You are going to have to battle crowds and wait in lines. Plan on it happening, make time for it and decide to be happy.”
The next year is the best holiday season of my adult life.
Skip the rage, choose to overcome
In life you can choose to rage against a challenge and then overcome it or to skip the rage and simply overcome it. Holidays or not, this is something I’m trying hard to remember.
You’re going to have to talk to the upset pet owner, sort out the team drama, figure out the staff schedule, run the inventory audit, do your taxes, make a dish for the potluck, conduct performance evaluations, and do all the other things you might want to avoid. Exhausted already? Me too.
You can decide to accept these things are going to happen, make room for them in your day, and try to find the fun in it…or not. Either way, you’re still going to do them.
Just for today, try not being frustrated. Try to recognize what is going to be required of you and do it with a smile on your face. See what happens. See if your day doesn’t feel brighter. I bet it will.