On Dec. 17, our puppy Jaxson celebrated his first birthday.
His gifts included six stitches on his tail and the dreaded, plastic cone of shame around his neck.
The day after his birthday, poor Jaxson’s tail was accidentally smashed in the back door. Six more inches, and he would’ve made it inside without a scar. But alas, now he is the fodder and lore of a newspaper column on how to prevent your year from ending in arrears.
So many of us spend the last quarter of the year rushing and pushing and cartwheeling our way towards the holidays. Once Dec. 25 has passed, we’re left deflated, remorseful and bored–the tails of our travails caught in the door of time. Too many times, we drag our wounded selves into the next year. We limp along burdened with the sagging remnants of years past, the door of deficient dreams hitting us in the behind.
And it’s no wonder.
One needs only to peruse the list of best-selling nonfiction books of 2010 to be boggled by cooks and crafters, decorators and parents — all exuding consummate accomplishments, irreproachable success, and an uncanny ability to balance work and family and talent without a hint of the yellowed stain of strain under their ambrosial armpits.
Is there any way to make it across the threshold to Jan. 1 without getting caught feeling like we never accomplish all we ought to, never comply with our resolutions and fail to reach our goals?
We can start by giving ourselves a break.
We need to give ourselves a break.
Resting in the simplicity and sufficiency of who we are helps us focus on what matters most.
Consider there might be areas of your life you can (and should) do without. When you take down Christmas, take the excess and extravagance down, too. Keep the candles and crackling fire and closeness of family, but put away the things you trip over and which leave you feeling like you didn’t do enough.
Turn off the electronics. Do we really need facebook and ESPN and CNN and G-mail and food channels 24/7? Perhaps the constant noise of trends and topics— even relationships — are better left in the past.
Dare to rest in the lyrical lull of solitude. After the tussle and crunch of paper and ribbon cease, pull a cozy chair next to a favorite window. Sit awhile in the silence. Falling snow makes the sweetest sound if you take time to really, really listen.
Take more photographs of the blessings around you, and take fewer trips to the superstore, where the accumulation of things congest and choke the way to the heart.
Cook more meals in the slow cooker so you have time to visit with your loved ones as the suns rays elongate and stretch the shadows of time at the end of each day.
Enter 2011 confident you did the best you could with what you have, and don’t let the fallicious expectations of a foregone year grab you by the tail.
Amy Sorrells is a Zionsville resident and writer working on her first book. E-mail Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org.