This has not been an easy year for many people, including yours truly, and I’m just not getting into the so-called “Holiday Spirit” of giving, giving, giving! I can understand the frenzy and excitement of the holiday season when one has small children to entertain and family members who gather near and far, but when those are fading memories and if you are not into commercialism, it can get to be just too much ado about nothing (aside from the religiosity of certain days).
As a self-employed professional whose work is exclusively traveling to foreign cities (and countries) to deliver keynote presentations, training seminars and consulting services, I’ve never had the luxury of corporate festivities. In addition, my children are grown and living elsewhere (yes, I’m close to them), and I live a single life enriched with friends and the companionship of one remaining cat.
I have no wish to rehash or restore the married years of yesteryear, and the consumer-retail-marketing aspect of the holiday season really holds no allure. “Buy, buy, buy – get diamonds for your love – the best time of the year” – it’s all so nauseating. All I want to say is Bah, humbug, who cares? I’m living life in the present and I am happy with my choices – they just don’t match the joyous couple – center of the universe – apparently blissful existence that television and media purports as being essential. So, why then do I feel anxious about the impending holiday season?
Does anyone else feel like this or am I an anomaly? In the U.S. when there is only one day off for Christmas Day, it is common to find many people celebrating (or getting through the day) alone – it’s the reality today! But, society, advertising and our media don’t seem to get this. (I guess the almighty dollar still trumps sanity.)
With 46% of American adults currently single, we ought to celebrate and find ways to thrive without needing to be (co- or otherwise) dependent on others. While humanity remains a social sport (we are “social beings” say the sociologists) it is not a guarantee that holidays will be a social event.
So, instead of saying bah, humbug, turn off the Christmas music already (hey, we just got finished with the election blues a couple of weeks ago!) – I’ve decided I’m going to resort to the Microsoft way of dealing with the holidays this year:
Abort, retry, ignore!
Here’s how I propose to use these three IT (information technology) based approaches to solve problems: The next time that I am irritated by Christmas tunes or frustrated by holiday traffic jams or don’t feel like talking to a “Happy, happy, joy, joy” elf-like acquaintance about their holiday preparations, I’m going to:
Abort — Get out of the situation: if it’s a store with obnoxious music, I’m going to walk out; if it’s a shopping mall parking lot – go somewhere else; if it’s being besieged by a friend who wants to go on and on about their wondrous preparations, I’m going to excuse myself and escape to my own space.
Retry — If I cannot get out of the situation (abort above), then I’m going to reframe the situation in my mind through meditation or gratitude thinking. For example, when the music triggers memories (good or bad) that I might not be prepared to revisit, I will change the channel in my head to one with positive energy: think about how fortunate I am to have good weather, good health, good friends, good fortune — whatever it takes to get me out of the funk-of-the-moment brought on by the holidays.
Ignore — if the first two approaches don’t work (or are inappropriate for the situation), I plan to use the MS third tactic – IGNORE. When I hit the ignore button in my brain it will turn the distraction off! If it’s someone who is incessantly babbling, I will imagine that their mouth is moving without any sound coming out! (Think of Peppermint Patty’s teacher in the Charlie Brown cartoons saying “Wyap wyap…” I’ll be sure to say “uh huh” at the end when their mouth stops moving!) If the offending trigger is music, I want to turn it off in my head and ignore it. Nothing can enter my brainwaves or make me anything but happy without MY permission, so I plan to ignore whatever it is and go on with my life!
What do you think? Would this be an option for you as well?
Your life is your choice!
Remember, you are exactly where you are supposed to be today (I love the saying “the Present is a gift you give to yourself!) and you are the best that you will ever have – and that’s more than enough for the world. (Remember you have to love yourself completely and unconditionally – that’s all that really matters in life!)
Have a great week, and let me know how the Abort, retry, ignore approach works for you. I know that I’m going to practice it at least a couple of times this week!