I can’t find it.
And I don’t feel compelled to be looking for it, either.
The buildup to this holiday season has been lacklustre for me. I don’t know if it’s that I am tired, have a touch of the holiday blues or am overwhelmed by a seeming abundance of sadness in the air.
I try to be merry, but it’s tough when you see others struggling or can’t seem to escape the political discontent constantly swirling around us.
It might be that I’m feeling less than festive — and functional — while recovering from surgery on my hand this past Monday. One-finger typing is not my norm. And, if there’s one thing that frustrates this typically fiercely independent girl, it’s having to rely on others.
I have, however, managed to mail all of my Christmas cards.
The tree in the living room is as decorated as it is going to be with a toddler and a new kitten in the house.
I’ve even wrapped a few gifts and tucked them in the closet.
But this Christmas has been more about going through the motions and less about feeling the emotions.
That’s not easy for this December baby and Christmas elf to admit. When my daughters were younger, my house used to look like a substitute Santa’s Workshop. There were decorations galore, containers of Christmas cookies and homemade goodies stacked in the fridge, and Christmas music playing on an endless loop in the CD player. I planned an annual holiday open house with more than 50 people coming through the door, and spent countless hours volunteering with various community organizations.
And, then, life got in the way.
There were medical challenges, the passing of friends and family members and the realization that we don’t get a “do-over.” Things once incredibly important for some reason became less so for better reasons. And I learned to trust that little voice that I had been long ignoring.
I’ve learned so much over the past several years. I’ve accumulated many nuggets of wisdom and messages of motivation. Some are clichéd and others insightful. I’d like to share a few with you.
1: Respect your body when it’s asking you for a break. Respect your mind when it’s seeking rest. Honour yourself when you need some time just for you. Listen to that little voice that’s inside of you, and make sure to treat yourself with love and respect. At the end of the day, you’re all you’ve got. ‘Your best’ doesn’t mean pushing yourself to your breaking point. Your best means the best you can do while being the best you. Get enough sleep, take breaks, listen to your limits. Your best is better when you’re happy and healthy.
2: When thinking about life, remember this: No amount of guilt can change the past, and no amount of anxiety can change the future. Be present, in the present. Don’t wish your life away or waste time on regrets. It’s simply not worth it.
3: You. Are. Human. And as author, Courtney A. Walsh, writes:
“You’ve got it all wrong. You didn’t come here to master unconditional love. This is where you came from and where you’ll return. You came here to learn personal love. Universal love. Messy love. Sweaty Love. Crazy love. Broken love. Whole love. Lived through the grace of stumbling. Demonstrated through the beauty of… messing up. Often. You didn’t come here to be perfect, you already are. You came here to be gorgeously human. Flawed and fabulous. And rising again into remembering. But unconditional love? Stop telling that story. Love in truth doesn’t need any adjectives. It doesn’t require modifiers. It doesn’t require the condition of perfection. It only asks you to show up. And do your best.
“That you stay present and feel fully. That you shine and fly and laugh and cry and hurt and heal and fall and get back up and play and work and live and die as YOU. It’s enough. It’s Plenty.”
This Christmas, be less concerned about the pursuit of the perfect gift, the perfect appearance, the perfect celebration. Simply celebrate. All of it. The big things and the little things. Allow yourself the sadness, as well as your celebrations. Give. Love. Share. And remember that we’re all in this together.
I hope you find your smile this holiday season. I believe I may have just rediscovered mine.
Kimberlee Anna Taplay (aka KAT) is a biker chick, mom of two young women, nana to one and someone who is quietly recuperating and preparing a great night for everyone at Tuesday’s Bah BumHug event. Watch for her next column on Dec. 20.
Bah BumHug Dinner
The Bah BumHug Dinner and Festive Gathering is Dec. 10 at the King’s Buffet on Lynden Road in Brantford. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. and the dinner and festivities begin at 7 p.m. It’s for singles, couples, groups of friends, empty-nesters, co-workers, new friends or family. Sometimes it’s amazing the difference that a couple of hours doing something out-of-your-ordinary can do to lift your spirits. This is the perfect event to help you get into the holiday spirit. RSVP by the evening of Dec. 8 via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 519-209-2683 and I will provide all of the details.
My friends at Brantford’s Sanderson Centre have provided me an opportunity to give away a pair of tickets ($84 value) to the Dec. 15 performance of Newfoundland’s Juno Award winning trio, The Ennis Sisters. To enter, send me an email at email@example.com with “ENNIS” in the subject line. I’ll pick a winning entry at random on the night of Dec. 8 and send a Merry Christmas email message with details on claiming the prize.