Monday, December 14, 2009

I WILL enjoy the holidays, DAMMIT!

I am exhausted.

Exhausted and sick and discouraged and stressed.

And feeling guilty about it.

It is The Holidays. I love this time of year. It's my favorite. Christmas has always been a big to-do around my house, ever since I was a teeny little kid. Add my birthday to the mix...exactly one week before Christmas...and well, December has always been good to me.

And I'm big on the gimmicks, too. On my mental To Do List every year is: watch holiday movies, drink hot chocolate, take pictures with Santa, wrap presents together, count down the days on the advent calendar, participate in every Secret Santa available, buy extra special gifts for everyone on the list, send out cool Christmas cards, take kids to a snow day event (we're in Miami, people), listen to Christmas music, decorate the house, go to a holiday park....the list is endless. This year? Um, we've managed the tree, some lights outside, and maybe a Rudolph movie or two (but not really to enjoy as a family...more to get the kids to sit still and be quiet for 28 minutes).

When I complain about all of this to Hubby (oh, wait, sorry, I mean Chris), he laughs: "What do you mean, 'We haven't done anything this Christmas'? Sure we have...we've done pink eye, multiple ear infections, throat infections, bronchitis, stomach viruses, fevers, colds....We've done plenty this season!"


I realize I shouldn't take it so seriously. I understand that what we've been dealing with is nothing...simple, inconsequential, annoying stuff. I know that we are incredibly lucky. Just this morning I found out about an acquaintance of ours, 42 years old, an athlete, a competitor, a health nut...died last night from stage 4 colon cancer. 42 years old. I realize his wife and family would give anything to be dealing with colds and ear infections and eye gunk. I should not whine. I have no right. And that's when the guilt kicks in. And then I'm more stressed because I think I'm so damned ungrateful and whiney.

I am exhausted.

I think the lack of sleep is finally starting to affect me. It's been a couple of weeks now, and my head is in a perpetual fog. Even now, as I write, I have all these points I intended to make...these themes I planned on writing about...but now, I feel like I'm still participating in the Half Drunk Challenge, because although I'm sober, I'm pretty damn sure I'm not making any sense.

Even this blog (and all those I love to follow and comment on)... it has become yet another thing to be stressed about. I have no time, no energy, no...zest.

Yes, that's it. Zest.

My zest has been all zapped out of me. And I'm usually a zesty kinda girl, you know? I like things big. I like things loud. I like things fun. I'm all for the whimsy, the silly, the metaphorical tinsel. But I feel like we're running on empty around here. It's been 10 weeks now. 10 weeks of colds and infections and fevers and complaining (mostly, mine). I'm sick of hearing myself talk about it, write about it, think about it. I just want to enjoy these next couple of upcoming birthday trip, Christmas Eve, Christmas morning, my family, the kids, us. All of it.

So perhaps I have to force myself to let go of all of those things I think I am supposed to be doing in order to enjoy the holidays, and just...enjoy them. Maybe the less pressure I place on myself, the more I will actually get out of all of this? It always comes back to the same stuff...whatever our issues are...they keep coming back at us in different scenarios. My issue has always been letting go, surrendering, just existing. And it creeps into everything I do: work, losing weight, relationships, blogging, traveling, even Christmas. It's no wonder I'm exhausted. It's not the kids making me so tired; it's myself.

I guess this is evidence of how important writing is for me. It really is cathartic. Just by writing this all out, by going almost stream-of-consciousness, by complaining and venting and explaining it, I almost snap myself out of it. I remind myself of everything I need to learn: surrender, stop stressing, stop demanding perfection, be grateful. Breathe.
Let go.


  1. "So perhaps I have to force myself to let go of all of those things I think I am supposed to be doing in order to enjoy the holidays, and just...enjoy them. Maybe the less pressure I place on myself, the more I will actually get out of all of this?" Easier said than done, right?

    I definitely think you're onto something, just by writing about it here. The first step, I think, to being able to breathe and let go is to allow yourself to complain. Get it all out. There will always be someone worse off, just as there will always be someone better off. But don't silence yourself through comparisons. Speak the truth about your own experience so that you can own all parts of it - the eye gunk and the Advent calendar.

  2. hang in there, are on the right path. Keep trying, keep going and you're already doing great, remember we hold ourselves to incredible standards. :0)

  3. Yes, you will enjoy the holidays. I, too, set incredibly high standards for myself and am trying to just let some stuff go. I tend to want to keep doing the same things because I've always done them that way (like the tree in the foyer. We just moved here a year ago and had one; so shouldn't we have one again?? I've decided no, I don't have the time or patience to deal with getting it up. And for God's sake - it's not like we've had one there for the past 10 years...)

    Today I took the same step as you. I stood back and thought - okay, what HAS to be done, what would be nice to get done (if I have the time) and what can go? (Well, the tree in the foyer was my first victim!) I stress myself out over stuff like this all the time and I've decided, I'm not going to let it. Whatever we do or don't do; we have each other and it will be fine.

    So how about this - you vent to me and I'll remind you to breathe and I'll vent to you and you'll remind me to breathe. Deal?

  4. I know what it's like to feel guilt about complaining when your problems seem so small relative to someone else's. However, I find it is to remember that you can only live your life from your own perspective. There will always be someone who has it worse than you. What happened to your friend is terrible and I'm so sorry. It is definitely important in these times to step back and be thankful for the good things in life, but it still doesn't make surviving on no sleep and missing out on favorite holiday traditions suck any less so you shouldn't have to feel guilty for having normal emotions. That's my unsolicited two cents anyway.

  5. I exactly know how you feel - same here...
    And I do exhaust myself, too. Silly stuff! :P
    You'll make it - keep yourself calm.

  6. We want to be able to do it all. The "to-do" list gets longer each day without much going off it. Add to that sickness and having to nurse those we love back to health. You should be exhausted. You should be tired.

    Do what you can. Set the bar a little lower - which, unless you are in a limbo contest, will make things easier. Enjoy what you have!

  7. i always try to make myself feel better by saying, "other people have it much worse than me. I have no right to complain." But in the end, in your world, what you're dealing with IS huge. 10 weeks of sickness? You have every right in the world to feel frustrated, exhausted and annoyed. But, it IS a wonderful time of year with lots going on to take you out of the duldrums (ok, I tried spelling it 6 different ways and it's still wrong, sorry). So grab onto your coughing, snotty, ear infected, eye infected little guys and hug them tight. Have an eggnog cocktail. Blast Josh Grobin's holiday CD in your house. Find a little Zest. But don't beat yourself up about feeling low... it's NORMAL!

  8. Hang on in there - giving up and letting go is incredibly hard

  9. hi, I think you are on to something, we do not value sleep as much as we should and we have stopped valuing "down time". I know in my circle, admitting you spent any time of any day doing nothing is paramount to admitting you ate the entire carton of ice cream....When my son was younger and at the doctor for the 4th time in a few months, and I was asking, when can he go back to daycare, the lovely smart doctor said...when he feels better. He has had to fight off 4 illness, he is tired. He needs to replenish. He needs to stay home. As dejected as I felt a that moment, I knew she was right and I have cherished that lesson. Don't feel guilty for trying to be the best, don't feel guilty for what I am going to say, just take it as honest advise from an "old mom" and trust that I been there. You are doing too much and so are your children. It is showing up in their illness, & your exhaustion. Let your gift be rest and relaxation. Lay around, take naps, slow down, consider it medicine, then drive through a light display or just around town and look at the lights, appreciate that this year it is enough. Most importantly, don't beat yourself up!! You are doing the best you can with what you have today! Know this to be true and embrace it!!! It is easy to look ahead and make plans and it is easy to look back and want to change things, but today is where we are, with the energy( lack of) and the time ( or lack of) that we have. You are doing your BEST, getting more exhausted and more frustrated will not make your best better. It will make you feel worse. Happy Holidays. Take care of yourself and your family and know that that is enough. It is enough!

  10. Go here: ;) live vicariously! I watch the videos when I need a little break. If you REALLY need a break go to youtube... share it with your boys!! be warned, you can lose a day...I speak from experience....


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