I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the activity generated by family get-to-gethers, a sign of aging I guess. This year I told myself that I would focus on staying in the moment; rather than worrying about how things were going or what I should do, just observe and respond as things evolved. People came and went, gifts were opened, food prepared and eaten, clean-up took place. I did less "shoulding", should call brothers and sisters, should pick up the living room, should get the laundry started, should write the Christmas letter, etc., etc. You know...some of those things have been done, and some remain to be done.
The New Year weekend is yet to come. The final hurrah of 2010. As January arrives in northern Indiana, the winter seems to stretch on interminably. There's a let-down feeling as kids, grandkids, and other family members go back to their homes in other places. A teacher I knew used to say that she loved the weeks after Christmas because she could get a lot more teaching done without the interruptions of the fall holidays. There is comfort in the routine of the days. On the other hand, for one who enjoys change and the unexpected, it can feel like a long, boring time.
Some people write New Year's resolutions. I don't know about that. It's a process usually fraught with more "shoulds." However, if you can think in terms of planning to do something that you've always wanted to do during this year, it can become a "want to", something to dream about, anticipate, and look forward to happening. The resolutions to lose weight, save more money, keep in better touch with families may come later; for now, dream of something that will help you to anticipate rather than dread the remaining winter days. Marge and I are planning a weekend with the grandkids and daughters in Chicago in a couple weeks. Maybe there's a friend or relative you want to spend some time with, or a cabin in the woods that will get you away from the chores of home and into a peaceful,natural setting. Go down to Rieth Woods in the still of a snowy morning and listen to the sound of silence. Dust off a book cover, sit and read with a cup of tea.
For those of us who fight depression, it is important to have some activity mixed in with the sitting still. Set small goals for the day like cleaning one shelf rather than an entire cupboard or closet. Mix activity with quiet time. Call someone even when you don't feel like it. Let them know you don't want to talk long, just a little. Do the same at work...set smaller work goals for yourself and others for the time being. A small task accomplished will help build your energy to tackle bigger things.
The days are already getting longer, and by the end of January, spring will be just around the corner, won't it?