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This may not sound like a holiday greeting card, inviting you to enjoy the warmth of the season and the promise of a new year. But it is. There is nothing like relocating, to start a new phase of life, to make you overwhelmingly aware of all you have, and all you want and think you want, of possessions, routine and tradition. It is all, every bit, so transparently right here, all around you in your new life. Every thing and thought has its own glow or glare, and it can feel like you are the deer in the headlights. You keep hitting the speed bumps of possessions and wishes, digging out things to make your place your home, then transitioning into Summer clothes and gear, and into the Winter holidays season, looking toward a new year coming up fast. Sure, you de-cluttered before you moved, and set your mind to entering into your new life just as if you were an extrovert, because you remembered that that had felt very good, before the business of living swallowed you. And you got your feet under you with new grocery stores, doctors, DMV, the library, township garbage can sizes, and all the wonderfully varied new people with their faces and names that somehow you need to make stick together! But maybe now, in the midst of the holiday hectic, you can let yourself accidentally trip over your own personal PAUSE button. That is my holiday wish for you – breathe, in and out, and first in your mind, and then in your life, sneak up on lightening the load and trimming the sails. (Sometimes I hate metaphors, but sometimes I can’t resist!) Let yourself feel the weight of things and expectations. And maybe put some down. You can start really small. I realized I don’t need to save all the plastic grocery bags. And it snowballed from there! (Again with the metaphors!) I don’t need to use all the holiday decorations we brought. I’ll use the ones that literally make me smile, or sigh in memory. I don’t need to make meals for dozens of people, I can try new recipes and eat out more, in smaller more easy going groups. I can wrap up so many books, because as one of our wiser visitors asked, how many are you really going to re-read? I can let go of the heavier wall art, and gradually come to live with my very favorites, and maybe try more watercolors. I can still keep the tradition of Cookie Day with my daughter, the first Sunday in December, but spend more time on first making and baking my daughter’s share of the cookies, and second making sure the dough gets made for my share of the cookies. Then I can bake my share over the next close to three weeks, at my leisure! And the day doesn’t leave me ready for and in serious need of bed rest! I can dig out the green velvet dressed angel for the top of the tree, and place the tree where it will shine out of the most windows, and do very little other decorating inside! We can use the gas fireplace, and not have to literally haul ashes out afterward. We can attend every holiday activity that suits our fancy. None have had time, yet, to become those pesky habit expectations that strangle you in commitments you don’t remember making! And I can spend New Year’s surrounded by people I’ve come to know and appreciate over our first half year here. And then go back to our new home, sleep, wake, and work on lightening the load and sailing on Because we all should get second, and third, and 997th chances to enjoy the world we have. Happy Holidays! Jayne Bodner   12/14/2015
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