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Sunday, January 5, 2014

It's over, and I'm happy

Robbi, Flickr

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?


  1. I was present.
    that made me BEYOND HAPPY.


  2. Like you, I did a lot of writing during my "down" time. I seem to do that during the holidays. I too was present. A visit from my daughter tends to do that. iPhone be damned. It has on switch that had never been used before. That helped. Also, the death of friend two weeks before the holidays made me want to stay present longer. Hoping I can continue. Thank you for the reminder.

    1. I love to have all the time I need to write! I would post every day if I could! :-)

      iPhone be damned oh yeah! I don't even own one, LOL.

      My sympathies for the loss of your friend.

      Keep being present.

  3. This whole post should be a mantra for the New Year !!

    1. Good idea! I wish some of it never left my mind. :-)

  4. Glad you had a good one, Julie!

    And thanks for the "Canadian" blast that's arriving tonight, lol! We will be in the teens! That's below zero Celsius, lol!

    1. Don't you even contemplate complaining! LOL ;-)

      Plus, you guys always send us hurricanes! :-p

      It's RAINING here right now!?!?!

  5. I love your we went, we did, I did etc list. I think you and the family did great over the Christmas Season.
    The day we stop thinking 'I could have done more' never comes - well if it does I haven't experienced it yet. Still got lots to do - and still got the energy to do it.

    Weather at this time of year UGH !
    But we make the most of what we're given and think about those less fortunate and is there a way we could perhaps help them?

    All the best Jan

    1. Hopefully, one day, we will all be able to forget about what we should have done, and instead focus on what we did do! :-)

  6. Y'all really did do a lot during the break!!!
    I like the way you listed it out so that you could actually see all of it.
    Our break has been extended by a day (today) due to the weather!!!
    I think that over-all this has been one of the most enjoyable breaks we've had in a long time!!

    1. I think I'll be making lists like that more often. It helps feeling content. :-)

      I'm so happy for you that you have been enjoying the break so much. And lucky, you got an extra day of! :-)

  7. I'm glad you enjoyed your two weeks off!

  8. You guys did a lot of very cool things!

    I spent the holidays with the people I wanted to spend them with -- not the people I was "expected" to spend them with. I stayed present as much as I could. I ate moderately and healthfully.

    I keep my life simple: I have many hobbies and activities I love but I can overdo it, so I stay mindful about that. I make sure I have alone time, I get out and walk the dog and play with her. I stay in touch with my wonderful friends. It's all good.

    1. I think it's wonderful that you spent your time with the people that really matter to you. :-)

      It sounds like you have a balanced and healthy life!

  9. I loafed around...literally. It was pure bliss :)

    1. Glad you enjoyed it! You make me feel like doing it too! :-)

  10. I'm happy you visited my blog because it lead me to yours! I love this post. It has taken me some time, but I really enjoy savoring the moment I'm in rather than looking ahead or behind and trying to be too busy.

  11. I just got back to Los Angeles the day before yesterday evening! While I am still trying to adapt to my usual schedule after 3 weeks of lazily getting out of bed to work out, I have to say that today is going to push me RIGHT BACK INTO the routine of my life! Got a million + things to do today, loads of meetings and driving... However, I always make time for blogging :D

    1. And that's because you have found balance in your life, GiGi! Blogging is good! :-)

  12. Sorry, late to this post, but wow! So many cool things you did, and they all sound so wholesome and happy and healthy!

    Um, I ate an entire box of See's candy by myself... hmm, somehow that doesn't sound as impressive. But damn it was awesome.

    1. Hahaha, it must have been great for sure! To be honest I did have wine and chocolate on many days! :-)

  13. Looks like you and your family had a great vacation...you did a lot of nice fun stuff together...together being the most important thing. I got married this vacation, surrounded by the people both of us love..it was the best vacation ever!!!!