Friday, December 18, 2009

Taking Stock

I haven't even had time to read others' blogs, much less really post to my own. The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas for a teacher flies at breakneck pace, and I just finished up my last ever certification class, so that's one part off my plate. which is nice. Don't get me wrong; I love what I do, but I think when you mentally prepare for something that's coming, like a break, you get into a certain mindset that's hard to get out of. I've felt alternately Grinchy and supremely Christmassy at different times over the last few weeks.

Last weekend I went to a memorial service for a family friend who died of breast cancer. She was 41 and left behind a loving family, including her husband and four year-old twin boys. Wait, no. Don't get too sad. Yes, of COURSE it's tragic. But I went to her service and realized just how much she did with her life, every day, even though she knew it was limited. She fought her cancer for about seven years, if I remember correctly, and it even went into remission for a while. As her husband so eloquently said at the service, she faced each day as an exciting challenge and did so with a good deal of grace and optimism. She didn't ignore what was happening to her; she just didn't let it rule her life. Every time I saw Gyda, she had a smile on her face and she lit up a room; the number of people there to bear witness to her life demonstrated just how much she affected those she came into contact with. What touched me most was that her husband pointed out to his boys that all the people in that room loved Mommy and would help them remember and love her.

It just put a lot into perspective. I'm so grateful for what I have, grateful that we had to make room in the refrigerator last night for the food we'd just bought. I have so much that I try not to take for granted, although I have my moments, just as anyone does. It's funny that at the holidays, this time of "peace", I and others feel so frantic all the time. I haven't gotten my holiday cards out yet, and I have friends who made SURE they were there on my doorstep on December 1. I'm trying to keep a budget but not shortchange anyone. I don't know if it's consumerism that makes us all crazy because we buy into it (hah! I made a funny!) or what? The kitchen is a constant mess, along with other areas of the house. If I hear one more "news" story about Tiger Woods that doesn't involve his performance during a golf tournament, I will go completely insane. I feel that friends I attempt to make contact with don't return my phonecalls, and I wonder if it's that they're simply busy or it means we're slipping away from each other. I keep meaning to exercise but something always gets in the way, whether it's school or grading or grocery shopping or my own lack of motivation. The other night I was in a hideous mood for no reason I could put my finger on, my head full of doubts and negative thoughts.

I don't know where all of this is going. The two paragraphs seem to completely contradict each other. But I guess what I'm trying to express is that I think we all need to find our tiny moments of peace and serenity when and where we can get them, and we need to remember that what's important is how we live our day to day moments. At the end of your life, nobody cares if the kitchen was clean. So I leave you with something that the King of Consumers, Starbucks, put together. It's actually pretty fantastic, so enjoy. Enjoy each other.


Yum said...

CONGRATULATIONS on finishing your certification!! You are a rock star.

I think consumerism IS to blame for a lot of our stress around the holidays, but I also think that part of it is thinking that we can show people how valuable we and they are with a gift. Dude, no. I think gifts should be a token of appreciation more than anything. Because people KNOW, without getting gifts, how you feel. They know it because you show them and tell them... ALL YEAR.

Scarlet Lily said...

I was laughing at the part of your post where you said you got distracted and couldn't remember what you were talking about b/c THAT is what seems to perfectly sum up the season! We're excited, we're put off by consumerism, we're happy, we're annoyed, it's such a mixed bag.

Also, I am TOTALLY one of those people who hasn't returned your calls! AH!! You're not the only one, I promise :)

I agree with YUM that the consumerism really does make it worse. I tried to limit that with our own family this year and got nowhere. The only person I had success with was Feather Nester - since we're lucky enough to be in the same city this year we're choosing an experience (long and lovely dinner out) over a physical gift, which I think is always better anyway.