As the year comes to a close, some of us are celebrating Yule in our own special way. We may be overindulging or healthful, observant of the passing solstice or unaware of such celestial events … None of that really matters. Traditions need not be fixed for us to enjoy time with friends and family.
In my 20+ years in Japan, most of my Christmases have been work days. Christmas isn’t a holiday here and its celebration is a cultural equivalent to that of Valentine’s Day in North America. This makes preparing the Francks family traditional Christmas turkey dinner a challenge. That’s mostly my job, and when I’m keeping one eyeball fixed on incoming e-mail from clients, putting 6+ hours into preparing the bird just isn’t a simple task.
This Christmas Day was no different and I found myself on the short end of time to prepare our dinner. Dinner amounted to a wonderfully delicious cheese ball and salads, rolls and the usual assortment of seasonal goodies of the sort this blog strongly advises against indulging. It was great fun, actually. I don’t get stressed about missing a Christmas Dinner deadline anymore. The bird will wait for another day.
It’s already the 26th here in Tokyo and once again I’m keeping an eye on my e-mail in anticipation of having to bail from preparing stuffing and roasting the turkey. If it doesn’t happen today, the bird will have to wait till Saturday. I guess we’ll be celebrating the coming of the New Year at that point. And yet I still smile.
Life is all about ebb and flow. The more easily and relaxed we can remain in uncertain situations, the more likely we are to enjoy ourselves. This is a time of year so rich in tradition, many folks get caught up in delivering the holiday festivities according to some nebulous schedule. Missing that schedule can involve bickering and complaining, both hardly being festive activities. When it comes to enjoyment, schedules are seldom a good idea.
That doesn’t mean that we don’t want to adhere to some timer, inner or otherwise. If you’re going to deliver a bird to the table full of stuffing and goodness, you need to give yourself adequate time to do so. Give yourself some slack, relax and when it comes to having everybody enjoy the bounty, relax there, too. It doesn’t serve anybody to grump at them because they haven’t sat at the table according to the schedule you’ve imposed upon the proceedings.
For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, we’ve just passed the winter solstice. It is our time to examine where we are versus from where we’ve come. It’s time for inner work … quiet introspection and assessment. A time to recognize where we might have done a better job and to take those baby steps that push us in the right direction.
I wish you all the very, very best in the coming year. Be kind to yourself and others. Focus on happiness and love.
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