As you know, I feel very strongly that perfectionism is an insidious disease against which kind people must be ever-vigilant. The essay portion of that life exam is, without a doubt, the holidays. As if the onslaught of constantly curated, Insta-ready lives isn’t bad enough the rest of the year, folks seem to double-down as we head into December. (After all, there are more than 80 holiday celebrations in that one single month and every single one of them seems to involve festive lights and elaborate feasts.) It’s enough to make you not want to pull down the ornament box.
I’ve struggled with end-of-year holidays. You might enjoy reading over my holiday experiments with “December Delights” and the “30 Days” posts (which are also tagged in the “Resources” tab at the top). For now, though, let me reassure you of one Very Important Thing – you are enough. Right now, as you are. Regardless of whether the house is decorated, or the cookies are baked, or the house lights are up, or the cards are sent, or the gifts are wrapped (or bought!).
So instead of telling you some sort of “Tried-and-True, Never-Fail, Make the Holidays the Best EVER!” nonsense, let’s do something else.
Look in a full-length mirror and consider how amazing you are. I really suggest doing this in a locked room, all by yourself, wearing nothing but skin. Really.
Oh, sweetie. (Hug.) We’re so, so hard on ourselves. Youth is a wonderful thing and I am so, so glad that I enjoyed mine and – yes – that I made some mistakes during that time. But youth has its own burdens and pressures and I have no desire to go back to that time of uncertainty and self-doubt.
At this stage of our Diva lives, we have all come through some things. We have left the effortless beauty of youth behind and what remains was earned through hard-won knowledge, unavoidable pain, and avoidable suffering. We’ve got scars, wrinkles, and joints that pop.
And just look at where you are. Never let anyone tell you unchallenged that you’re weak or that your worth is only tied to some randomly-generated “Hotness Quotient.” For instance —
- I may still ponder finding the right shade of cool red-blue lipstick, but I freely indulge in truly exceptional pastry when it crosses my path and I savor every bite and nibble. I know too many people who did not and now, cannot.
- I understand the wonders of compound interest and know the power of the polite ask. If they say “no,” well – I tried and have no reason to wonder what would have been.
- My eyes look out from a sharp brain that enjoys word puzzles and learning new things, be that a recipe for chicken paprikash or remembering the proper pronunciation when a French word has an accent mark.
- I’ve got scars and marks that are evidence of my battle with cancer and I wouldn’t airbrush them out for a gold monkey.
- My not-as-slim-as-it-once-was body can come running when a friend needs help, often with a casserole.
- My round face has a fine network of lines that come from years of finding the humor in life, even in some decidedly non-funny parts.
- My broad hands have written dozens of notes of encouragement along with hundreds of blog posts, three books, and a portfolio of watercolor paintings.
- My thicker-than-before legs can plant a flower bed, keep bird feeders full, and walk steadily up a trail.
We are astonishing creatures and deserve celebration.
Decorate as you please, enjoy the season with cocoa or wassail or eggnog as you like, and remember that it’s all okay.
Scatter joy – and be gentle with yourself in the doing of that.