Five Steps for Beating the Christmas Bah Humbug Job Seeker Blues
I recently wrote my Devil Wears Prada article discussing the potential outcomes of the choices we make. Few of us go out and make an intentional life or career blundering decisions. I, however, have made a string of smaller decisions, or better yet, no decisions at all that over time got me someplace all together wrong.
I’ve done it with Christmas, too. I let Thanksgiving go by without giving much thought to what comes next. The time slips by and before you know it, I shorted myself. This year I’m not going to do that. I’m going to make a conscious decision so this becomes my best Christmas ever.
What stupid decisions from previous years am I going to avoid this year?
- Well, in previous years I’ve over committed myself. I’ve squeezed projects into the final days of December that could have waited.
- I’ve packed my personal life with social activities galore so I’m completely stressed, consumed and overwhelmed with busyness.
- I’ve focused myopically on my troubles, including last year when my wife joined the ranks of the unemployed, and done the oh-hum victim hood thing. (Victim-hood seemed so right at time, but it real joy killer.)
So instead of letting things develop haphazardly in hopes of having Christmas go my way, here are the five steps I’m taking to make this my best Christmas ever:
- Take time out for daily reflection. Advent started yesterday. Those are the four weeks leading up to Christmas when we Catholics (and other denominations I think) prepare for the coming of Christmas. This Advent, I’m committing myself to taking a 20 minutes each day for quietly meditation. (You can read my A Novena Worked When I Needed It article spelling out last year’s less quiet option. That might be another option for you if you need something more engaged or active.) This mediation has in the past led to a quieting of my mind (which seems particularly out of hand this year) and to an increase in personal serenity. (You can learn more about this meditation stuff in my Cure for the Clutter in Your Head article.)
- Help out the less fortunate. My youngest daughter’s 13. We’ve gotten her some nice Christmas presents over the years. You know she’s never once said, “That thing you got me two years ago made it the best Christmas ever.” Even my older daughter who got a car a few years back for Christmas has never brought it up as a cherished Christmas memory. They both have asked me if we are going to visit with that Haitian family we helped last year. They’ve asked if we’ll be distributing toys with our church’s humanities ministries this year. They know a good thing when they see it – the things that make us better people. In yesterday’s sermon, our pastor asked us to help the less fortunate not so much for what we do for them, but for what they can do for us. It was an interesting perspective. Given this, I’ll be avoiding the gift giving mental frenzy and work on treasuring things of real value.
- Midgetfest. No this isn’t some short people exposé. It’s what we call having a pizza party, sleep over and Oreo cookie shake drinking (you need to try these) gatherings at our place. The midgets are the family’s youngest nephews and nieces (all of which are short in stature) and we have so much fun. I haven’t done it for a while (probably because I’m too busy), but it helps bring my brothers, sisters and kids closer in our relationship to each other.
- I’m going to avoid busyness. I’m going to avoid busyness for the sake of busyness and be more present to people. I’m a spiritual person. I believe God works through me in unexpected ways. I’m not quite sure what this will mean for me this year, but it seems that when I:
- stop with the busyness,
- become more present and
- open myself up to other people,
opportunities come alive. I somehow up my chances of making a difference in people’s lives. When I’m over-busy, these opportunities don’t materialize. I won’t make that trade off this year.
- I’m going to say “Merry Christmas” more. (I hope this one doesn’t get me in trouble.) The way I see it, Hanukkah runs from December 11th to the 19th this year. I’ve looked long and hard and haven’t yet to meet an African American that knows and celebrates Kwanzaa. (Will those true Kwanzaa celebrators please speak out.) I may toy with “Happy Holidays” until December 19th, but after that I’m going full speed ahead with a Merry Christmas. It’s what I know to celebrate on December 25. Why call it anything else?
Can you join me too this year, give the news, the economy, unemployment, stimulus packages, health plans and the Republican / Democrat debates a rest and live as if these next several weeks were your best days ever. I really believe that if you look at them this way, they just might become your best days ever.
And lets encourage each other by using the comments below to share the things you plan on doing in the next few weeks to make this your best Christmas ever.
Hope this helps.