Holiday Traditions

Our Miniature Tree

Tis the Season and with it come traditions. Year after year we’ve kept them, they give us a sense of family, of togetherness, of happy memories. As a result, we feel we must keep them going forever. In fact we have been keeping them for years even if we do not feel the same way about them anymore. It’s the way we were brought up, the way we brought up our children. For most of us, it’s the only way!!!

This year, forget about bringing up all those boxes full of Christmas Past. They were wonderful in their time, but we must be realistic. Forget about buying presents randomly, forget about cooking for days to have more food than people would be able to eat, forget all of those traditions. Nowhere it is written that we must exhaust, stress and overspend ourselves to make the Holidays happy. Reality check, Happiness is subjective!!

Let’s try a different way. Let’s make it all about what makes us happy, what bring us together, what we want to do. Start new traditions, decorate with things that please you, cook less and spend more time with your loved ones. Share your blessings and volunteer, make other people Holidays bright, be present and share your time. The rewards will be amazing and your body, mind and pocket will thank you!!!


Becoming or Unbecoming

You are becoming someone else. Haven’t you heard friends and family say that? They say you are becoming less of this, more of that. Haven’t you paused and consider what do they mean? Are you really becoming someone else? In fact you are becoming your real self. It sounds like a cliché, but it is true. You are unbecoming what is not you.

All your life you were there for everyone. You played all the roles needed to keep everything going. There was no time to think about it because you were too busy living the life that was expected of you. You kept going and thinking all was well. For must of us, all was fine. Life was good and we were happy.

Now you realize that people around you had gone on with their lives. As much as you love everyone in your life, you now have the time to pamper yourself, make yourself happy and do the things you want to do. This is not by any means being selfish, this is just going back to putting your needs ahead of someone else’s.

So when anyone asks that question, there’s no need to answer. No explanations are needed, suffice to say that you know why and are happy with the changes. What a time for you!!!


The Simple Life

Anyone remembers a television program called “Green Acres“? I know I am dating my self with this, but somehow it came to mind today. You may ask why. This program told the story of a big shot lawyer who decided to leave all behind and move to a farm in the middle of nowhere. His glamorous wife had no choice but to follow him. They were going to live the simple life.

Well, it did not work out exactly as they envisioned it. The husband, Oliver, had all these preconceived ideas about what a rural life would be like. Consequently, he never really adjusted. He was impatient with his neighbors, couldn’t get their ways, wanted things to work his way. He needed to be in charge.

His wife, Lisa, did not want to move from the city she loved. Leaving behind her pampered life was very hard, but she understood what their new life in the country was all about. So she adapted better to her new surroundings and got along with their neighbors. He had too many expectations, she had none. He wanted to control, she went with the flow.

So many of us, having reached this stage in our lives, want something uncomplicated, relaxed and simple. After all, we have worked hard, bid our time and finally have the time and resources to start our new lives. We are retired or about to retire. We have time in our hands, the children have moved on. We decide to downsize, move to a smaller place or across the country or across the sea. All sounds so exciting, doesn’t it? We go ahead and start getting ready.

Unfortunately, not all of us ask the right questions before going all out trying to organize this move. We have all these expectations, these perfect plans for our new life. Expectations are high, we get caught in the details and lose sight of the big picture. Pause and breathe, please.

To get to the simple life so many of us want these days, we must be like Lisa. We must have an open mind, accept the changes this new life will bring and go with the flow. There is no other way to succeed at this.


Commit to Change your Story

Painting by MAURY, Delta add-on by Mercedes

What a thing to say!!! Is that even possible? and how do you go about it? These are valid questions. The answers are absolutely up to you. It is a voluntary process, one you must really want it to be able to achieve it.

Starting with examining your habits, your way to do things, the way you process information and your reaction to it, this can be good for you. Remind yourself that you are not looking for things to change, you are only looking at how all this affects your life. What you find that is good, you must continue to practice.

Most importantly, you must be realistic about this. Change is good if you get positive things out of it. For that, you need a plan. Start by asking yourself: who am I? Be as impartial as you can….not easy, but try. The point of this exercise is to accept yourself for who you are a this time in your life.

Make a list, put down what you have discovered that you find helps you. In another list, put down all the things you feel hold you back: regrets, fears, old hurts, emotions that cause you to fret. Compare lists and set goals. Once this is done, you can review as you go. Change the way you talk making every thought positive. No more: why me or I can’t do this. Those are not conducive to change.

Forget the past and concentrate on the now and the future. Let’s consider the past a learning experience and move on. Take risks, get out of your comfort zone, think outside the proverbial box. Focus on yourself and your journey, what others think is irrelevant.

Finally, spend time with people you trust, who support and love you. Leave argumentative and negative people behind, they do not belong in your life anymore. The change you are looking for will get you where you need to be. There you will find the people the new you can make history with. Go for it!!!


Take the Winding Road

Armenistis Lighthouse, Mykonos

Many times, when driving around, we take the highway instead of the scenic route, the winding road. Why? In a hurry to get to our destination, we chose the fastest way. Little thought is given to the alternative routes that can make our journey more pleasant. Never mind that the chosen route keeps us tense and causes stress, getting there fast is the only consideration.

Same thing in life, why do we take the most direct way, instead of exploring others. We tend to rush decisions, give opinions before we hear the whole story, get mad at the slightest disagreement and offer advice without being asked. Everyone does it and don’t even take notice of how this affects others or ourselves. The only thing we gain, I think, is confrontation and aggravation.

Time is passing, life is short. Concentrating on our friends and family, making sure our relationships are happy and our friendships are healthy is the sure way to meander through these years. For sure, I am trying harder. I have come to appreciate the winding road, the way to get anywhere physically or emotionally without rushing, stressing or arguing. It has been a discovery I wish I had made years ago.