Linda Boyne: Don’t rush me with holidays
Vail, CO, Colorado
On the afternoon of Halloween, I walked into Wal-Mart to buy my candy for distribution to the youngsters of my neighborhood. Yes, very last minute, I know. But Lord knows I couldn’t buy it before then because I have no self-control around delicious chocolate goodness.
And what to my wondering eyes should appear on that 31st day of October? A big, giant fake Christmas tree, adorned with huge ornaments and all. Right there at the entrance. First thing I saw. Boom! Merry Halloween!
Retail America: Can’t you just let us enjoy one holiday before pushing us to buy stuff for the next one? There are other significant events before the big one on Dec. 25. Columbus Day. Thanksgiving. Hanukkah. The winter solstice. The anniversary of the day New Jersey became a state. Lots of stuff is going on in November and December that requires our attention. Let us be!
When did we start allowing the retail sector to set our pace, to determine our agendas? I feel like it’s getting worse every year, or maybe I’m just getting more aware of it. Do we really need to do our back-to-school shopping immediately after Independence Day? Must I try on swimsuits in February when the deep winter pall is at its most intense for fear that if I wait until May when I actually want one the racks will be empty of my desired size and style?
I wonder if this disease exists as badly in other parts of the world, this need to push forward at an unnatural pace. Is this one of those uniquely American qualities?
I don’t think we can wholly blame the retail community, though. I find myself always looking to what’s coming next, trying to anticipate, plan, predict the future. Perhaps this is part of the American Dream.
I read a book recently by a woman in her 50s who spent a year living in Cape Cod away from her family to figure out where she wanted her life to go. Joan Anderson eventually got to a point of paying more attention to the ebb and flow of the tides and the rhythm of the seasons rather than the clock and the calendar. She was actually able to follow the inner voice that we all have but block out in favor of the external world’s demands dragging us through life.
She wrote something that spoke to the control freak in me: “Too often I’ve used up precious time preparing for experiences rather than just having them. I must learn to surrender to the moment, but the very word “surrender” evokes giving up and giving in, not an easy task for a demon planner like me.”
How do we “surrender to the moment” without abandoning our families and jobs, and in my case, my sanity? I started asking people who either looked peaceful or appeared to have answers.
Someone suggested yoga to me. Been there, done that. While I love the practice and the idea of the benefits, I can’t seem to quiet my mind and find that peaceful zen place. It’s probably exactly what I need, but I can’t get there. I need action and movement and, well, quite honestly, I need to punch something to find inner peace. Kickboxing is my yoga. A little less “namaste,” a little more “ki-hap!”
I was also told that I need to be present in my life. Well, I like presents, so I might as well be present, right? Easier said than done.
While I always thought I was here, present and accounted for, I’ve realized that my multi-tasking, scheduling and planning makes it impossible for me to be in the moment. Even while I was sitting at the computer writing this, a seemingly singular activity, I was up and down out of my chair, doing laundry, making a shopping list, getting a snack, etc.
So, as a helpful hint to us all, ignore the holiday decorations in the windows and the Christmas music playing in the stores until the traditional beginning of the season, the day after Thanksgiving. Focus on this day. Be in the moment that is November. And breathe.
Linda Boyne of Edwards writes weekly for the Vail Daily. She can be contacted through email@example.com