Holiday time warp: Christmas obligations make it harder to slow down and enjoy the season
By Patricia Baer
The other day at the grocery checkout the clerk asked me if I was ready for Christmas. It was a typical small talk question for this time of year with the exception that the person asking me was clearly a high school student. I hesitated with my answer because I could not imagine that this kid would actually care or that someone his age could identify with the stress the holidays bring for an adult.
I mumbled something vague like, “Getting there.” His animated response caught me off guard. With the gusto of a motivational speaker, he said, “What? You should be more, ‘Yeah! It’s Christmas.’ For a teenager, that’s halfway through the school year.”
The clerk had voiced something I had been thinking myself days before our interaction. I missed feeling the excitement of the holidays. This year felt too rushed. It was more about crossing items off my to-do list than enjoying the wonder and hope of the season. I had not even watched any of my favorite Christmas movies at that point.
Each year time seems to move faster. 2014 was a big year for me personally, but it passed as a blur in a whirlwind of moments. December was here in a blink.
When you are a child, time creeps painfully forward. Anticipated events like birthdays and summer break take forever to get here.
Wishing you had a couple days more to tie up loose ends before going on a much needed vacation never happened when you were in grade school. You would never guess some day you will be relieved that there is yet another night before Christmas so that you can put the finishing touches on your celebration preparations.
As I look ahead at my calendar for 2015, I can already tell it will be another busy year. If I think about it too long, it terrifies me that the next 40 years of my life will zoom by at triple the speed of the first 40.
It makes those goals set at the start of the new year seem to need more significance and urgency. The typical thing to write here would be to say that as a result of my introspection, I am going to resolve to reprioritize and slow down so I can appreciate my life more, but I know myself better than that.
I will try to squeeze more goals onto the list and make the most out of the quickly passing time. I already have my eye on a couple of writing contests that I want to somehow manage making a submission to in between other obligations.
However, I have a feeling that one of the goals will be to plan better for this time next December so I can relax and enjoy the holidays while reminiscing about the fleeting passage of 2015.