Just when you think you have talked yourself into a brand new beginning… the holidays come floating in the air. Are you serious? I need to change that too? Whether you are an empty-nester, recovering from divorce, recently retired, widowed, [insert your change of choice], holidays can knock the wind out of you if you are not prepared.
Nostalgia, my old friend, has chosen to show up early in this end-of-year season. NYC childhood memories flood my heart—followed closely by the forgotten dreams of what my family would look like as an adult. Like most children, I wanted to carry on family traditions and add some of my own. I’ve spent years trying to create that “perfect” Thanksgiving and Christmas. “How did that work for you Maggie?” my internal critic asks. “Not so well” I respond. Now, a card carrying SENIORita I recognize the family and friends I choose are what make this season “perfect” … not the decorations or even the gifts. And, I notice that disappointment shows up when I try to fit my current reality into past expectations.
Starting Over… Reinventing Yourself… New Beginnings… Life Makeover…
All of these words represent that moment in time where we choose a different ending to our story. A powerful future vision shows up that compels us to change—to step out of the familiar. We put all of our energy into stepping away and entering in to a different reality. Perhaps we engage a life coach, mentor or counselor—a partner to help fast-track our goals. Daily steps of faith take us through the changes. We celebrate milestones along the way. And then, holidays show up—did we forget to anticipate? Did we think we would carry on as before? Why does it hurt so much? Eyes closed, we pray the season will go by quickly. Maybe if we isolate, no one will notice we are missing?
A New Kind of Normal…
I confess that I have tried the isolation technique. It doesn’t work. Instead I recommend you include new traditions into your holiday experiences. Why not? Consider the following:
Start with a fresh new mindset. Decide how this season will matter in advance. Choose the attitude that will make this season count. As a woman of faith I know that gratitude, love, and service show up big for me during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Jesus is the reason for the season. There is no other. We are bombarded with holiday movies that set expectations that aren’t real. Instead, let’s create our own reality starting with our thoughts.
“There is power in a made up mind!” —Coach Maggie
Choose who matters to you. Don’t be held hostage by other people’s expectations. You know who matters; include them in your experiences.
Create your own traditions. Perhaps it’s time for a traditions makeover? A time to make the best of your circumstances? I remember a Christmas—as emptynesters, we were far from family that year. We chose to go to the movies and smuggle in our lunch. Silly wasn’t it? We giggled through the whole experience. On another occasion, during my care giving season, my mom was in the hospital with Alzheimer’s. My heart was heavy. There would be no Christmas celebration that year. Late one night—after spending the day in the hospital—I came home to the most beautifully decorated Christmas Tree ever. My husband had purchased, decorated, and blessed me with a small tree—so much love rivaled all past Christmas celebrations.
Partner with someone in similar circumstances. You are not alone. There are many who face the holidays in similar circumstances. Why not partner up, share stories and encourage each other?
Choose life—no matter what it looks like. Comparison to others will rob you of your own unique experience. If you have created your own New Kind of Normal, won’t you share your ideas below? How can you support others who are struggling through this season? Your contribution matters… please share won’t you?
Photo by Steve Halama