Delay (noun): deferment, interruption
During this busy time of year, I find it even more difficult to enjoy the season due to the internal pressure to create a "perfect holiday" for those around me. One of the preparatory measures I took to ensure time to rest and relax was to spread out family gatherings from the weekend prior to Christmas through the week after New Years'. While this seemed best in theory, it has been a bit difficult in practice. First, it has been difficult to spend time with our friends since we have schedules 90% of our free time for our parents -- oops!
This week, we attempted to remedy this situation. as I mentioned previously, Doug and I have this week free: no classes, no family plans, no major responsibilities. (Well, Doug still has to work, but only 4 of the 8 days, so he is much "freer" than normal.) Anyways, we thought this might be a perfect time to invite one of our friends to stay for a night and plan a get together with some other friends in the area. This plan completely backfired due to an additional unexpected guest, an extra night stay in our apartment, and a lot of local friends cancelling on the plans. Chaos! not only did this change a lot of plans, it also cut into my Christmas Basket prep time -- a must have during this empty week!
Now, this would have normally stressed me out; I mean, I write appointment in my planner with a marker: plans should not change! However, while I could have ignored my guests to bake and prep in the kitchen, I spent time with them instead. While I would have normally stressed myself out trying to make great (and large) dinners for everyone, we ordered in some pizza. While I could have felt compelled to change my normal health habits in order to "host" everyone during the entire time, I still went to the gym as I normally would and went to bed when I needed to.
In the end, I was very proud of myself! Having friends stay is not about impressing people or making drastic changes (no matter how temporary), but about enjoying the time that you have with them! Otherwise, it's not really worth it for them to be there. I really believe that a lot of the holiday stress is actually disappointment in unmet internal expectations. Really, most stress I feel (and I'm sure others feel) is disappointment in this self-inflicted expectations. This has truly helped me to de-clutter and decelerate my life in order to enjoy those around me!