Living Intentionally, self improvement, life hack. life lessons

Some Thoughts on Living Intentionally During the Holidays

Yesterday morning I woke up to the local newspaper laying in the driveway. What made it unusual is that I don’t have a newspaper subscription.

A nice gesture from the local rag sheet to send out a complimentary paper on Thanksgiving: How nice. I get to read the three or four articles in it for free this morning—it’s a small town paper.

Well, didn’t take but a few blinks of the lids to see what was going on.

The Black Friday ads were overwhelming, and I had to search through layers of advertisements to discover anything that resembled a newspaper—the inserts were more than double the actual newspaper.

One particular ad shouted, The More You Buy; The More You Save!

I figured I could save more money if I simply stayed home and not buy anything on sale, but who am I to say what’s what.

If I stay home, then I have to contend with Amazon and every other online retailer jumping on the Black Friday bandwagon to include Black Monday…all of which seems to include Saturday and Sunday.

Why aren’t those days called Black?

I dunno, this whole time of year can be so confusing.

Not that the rest of the year isn’t, but the whole year seems to get funneled into the next four weeks hard and fast. It’s like all our fears, stress, anxiety, and guilt gets shoved into this round opening on top, and some unseen force causes us to swirl around and around till we hit a small tube, and then down we go.

Debt piles up by the time January first hits and every one I know says this one thing (Every one!)…

“Man, I’m so glad the holidays are over!”

Why is that?

Probably because we felt like we had to buy stuff for people we don’t like, with money we don’t have, and the stuff we bought will more than likely be recycled through next summer’s garage sale at said person’s house.

Well, we probably do like the people we buy stuff for, except for the acquaintances at work, but then again, even at work, we sorta get funneled into the whole cultural corral of being apart of the Secret Santa thing.

Why does Santa have to be so secret anyways?

I ask too many questions at times.

Oh, and not to mention the guilt we all feel at this time.

I hate that feeling when someone gets you a gift, and you didn’t even think about buying them anything.

Or, you do buy something for so-&-so, and because you only had a few dollars to your name, you got them a small cute item within your budget; but someone else whipped out the credit card and bought them the latest Thingy-ma-jig that you know cost more than you could afford even with overtime tacked onto your paycheck.

Or, the guilt you feel because you want to get something nice for your kids, but you can barely make the monthly rent.

The internal dialogue within each of us is so different than the dialogue running through the person you think you should buy something for.

And that’s something that took me a long time to realize, and even today, still struggle with.

***

What if we could actually relax and enjoy this time of year rather than what we normally experience over the next few weeks?

What would we need to do, or act, or be to accomplish that?

What if we could say No to some of the events and parties we don’t like going to anyway?

What if we did not worry or feel ANY guilt about what to buy, how much to spend, or who to get a gift for?

What if we didn’t send out Christmas cards to everyone we “think” we “should” but instead just send cards to those whom we want to?

Living an intentional life every day is a very fulfilling and rewarding experience.

To be comfortable in your own skin and not be guilted into doing or being someone or something you’re not, is always very rewarding and satisfying.

May this holiday season be a new season for you…one that is filled with the joy of living and making decisions that line up with your values; to remain free (or at least keeping on track to getting free) from the harsh taskmaster of debt; and shake off the guilt of others, or yourself, imposed upon you for whatever reason.

AND(!), take the time to stand in awe of the pretty Christmas lights your neighbor puts up without having to wrestle with the feeling of having to out do them.

Posted by Christian Martin Jr.