It's over, and I'm happy. Don't we all wish we could say that if we learned right now that our life is about to come to an end? Isn't being content with what we are leaving behind the most important thing?
Christmas vacation is over. To be exact, it was already over for me a week ago: I had to work part-time as clients kept knocking on my virtual door. But tomorrow morning, everyone will truly be back to their routine.
Looking back on those 2 weeks of "break", the first thing that comes to my mind is that we didn't do enough.
Then I start thinking about what we actually did. And soon enough, I call myself silly. Here's an overview of some of the things we did during those 2 weeks (I'm sure I'm forgetting some):
- We went ice skating
- We went sledding
- We went mini-golfing (indoors obviously)
- We went to a professional basketball game
- We went to the movies
- We watched movies at home
- We played board games/card games
- We spent time on the phone with loved ones who live far away
- We played/cuddled with the dog and 2 cats
- We read books
- We took bubble baths
- We home cooked
- We did a huge cleanup of the house
- We dealt with a basement flood
- We shoveled tons of snow
- We repaired a couple of things
- We made a few bags for the less fortunate
- We went to at least 4 parties (not counting the ones we had gone to before the holidays)
- Either one or both kids had 4 play dates and/or sleepovers, plus a birthday party
- They also played outside in the snow with the neighbors many times; the numerous snowmen that adorn our front yard can testify
- I read about, wrote about, talked about, and tasted wines
- I went to the gym or exercised at home every other day
- Including this post, I wrote 6 blog posts
|Winter landscape, by Pieter Bruegel the Elder|
How can this not be enough, I now wonder.
I realize that as busy as we are, we will never be content until we plant both feet in the "right here, right now", and truly appreciate what is going on.
I want to take this as a life lesson. Too often we find ourselves running in all directions like a headless chicken. Too often we don't even pause to feel gratitude.
Sometimes we need a smack on the head to remind us of our luck. Yesterday, D and I watched the movie Rebelle (click here for a review). Those types of movies are tough, really tough. Not as tough as going through that kind of hell for real, however. And that kind of hell exists as it has ever since humanity came to life. Don't we ever, us the spoiled and privileged, forget that.
I think it is our responsibility to be aware of others' ordeal and try and make the world a better place in our own little ways, not to forget that it is also our responsibility to fully enjoy what we have.
We need to make sure our days are marked by something meaningful. Not everything will be. Many repetitive and alienating chores are unavoidable. Other, more unpleasant things will also happen. But each day should see something meaningful happen. Something in which we bloom. Something that keeps us grounded. Something that makes us feel fully alive as opposed to half dead.
While this is happening, we have to be present enough to savor it. This is often the main challenge.
I know I fully enjoyed sledding with the kids and a few of my own friends today, on the hills of the nearby golf course! The weather was mild (around zero), the snow was immaculate white, deep, and powdery. The views were beautiful. And we were all exercising and taking in some fresh air in good company. It doesn't get much better than that! After, we had a nice, warm and fragrant (D was cooking supper) house to go back to; and the kids sipped their hot chocolate while I had my beloved green tea.
Christmas vacation is over, and I'm going to make sure that I feel happy about what I'm leaving behind! To help me stay on that "track of contentment", I will make sure I remember and apply Heinlein's wise words about purpose:
In the absence of clearly-defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia until ultimately we become enslaved by it.
Most of the things I did during the holidays fit my long-term goals, and that's what counts.
What did you do during the holidays that makes you happy?
What are you gonna do to make sure that you end every day, every year, and everything else feeling content?