The snow has finally arrived. The magical beauty of a perfect line of thick white snow that uniformly falls from the hydro lines, disintegrating away until only a mist of snow hits the ground. I watched this morning as the mist crept in the low of my small valley highlighting the tip of the hill behind it in a baby blue hue showing promise of the day’s sunshine. The smog inched it’s way behind the evergreen trees that stood guarding it as a solid dark grey silhouette, ladled in snow pushing down on the dormant branches until their breaking point. Even in their sleep the branches win as Mother Nature pushes the snow away with a warm winter breeze, like a mother pushing away a lock of hair from her child’s eyes as they dream. Soon the mist covers the hill and only the tall trees creating the front line remain visible, and the mist waits…waits for the sun to push its hard won mystical barrier far away from her warmth and comfort.

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I like to think of myself as a “bad news first” kinda girl. I am alluded by the ability to contain my wild feelings, even the struggle to focus my thoughts on the last thing I’ve been told is a challenge (I suspect this is why I am a proud simple-minded follower). In hearing bad news first I can simply forget the thoughts that create the feelings around the voice in front of me and focus on the good news about to consume my brain with lovely, addictive serotonin.

It is in this knowledge that I face December 25th. The overwhelming pressure of family. As a dedicated follower my sole mission (and detriment) in life has been to please people. If I had my way, I would be sitting completely alone covered in sunshine on a soft white sand beach listening to waves lick at my bare toes. The exact opposite of pressure. Jason’s family and friends live in Smithers. A simple 2 hour drive, that may as well be in China! Both of our parent families are alone, both stubborn and willful, both deeply rooted in tradition and extensively skilled in using guilt as their ultimate weapon. The children are old enough now to feel this guilt and follow my direction to strive to contain it if they can’t outright fix it. Their overly dramatic father fits seamlessly into our parent families, being closer to their generation than Jason and I are. Christmas for me is guilt ridden, restless pressure with devastation and disappointment surrounding 1 day of useless, expensive celebration.

I didn’t always feel this way. Like a typical child, Christmas was the only day my brother and I joined forces to outwit time. I remember waking him up in the darkness with a tiny nudge of my small finger, together creeping down the steep wooden stairs, avoiding the creaks in the middle of each step. On our way down we would grab our overfull stockings from the hooks on the edge of the stairs where they hung. If something fell out onto the floor we knew we would be busted. With our arms bursting and our excitement palatable, we dangerously maneuvered the second half of the staircase in complete silent darkness. We locked ourselves in the bathroom, turned on the light and dug in! In the midst of our second layer of goodies, past the japanese oranges that hit the floor without a thought, the door flung open and there stood Gramma Lee. Her short, thin white curls creating a halo of tangles above her squinting blue eyes as she tried to adjust to the light. We froze like deer in the headlights, hoping if we didn’t move she wouldn’t see us. A simple “it’s 3 o’clock in the morning…” was enough to get us back to our warm beds abandoning our loot. Dear gawd I miss that woman. She passed away Dec.26, 1999. Christmas has not been the same since.

The problem with the current daily “countdown to The Day” of dramatics is the fact that the good news is overwhelmingly nowhere to be seen. New Years for me is a time of quiet reflection, a life re-focus and a new awareness. By the time New Years gets here I’m still drowning in chores to clean up the physical and emotional messes made by everyone who didn’t get their expectations met. It’s intensely hard for me to focus on my new year beginning on the right foot while I’m still intrinsically caught up in the drama of a family Christmas. It’s like starting off your “healthy eating” day with an earl grey tea swimming in 18% cream and spoonfuls of sugar to wash down those homemade Christmas cookies.

I like to begin my New Years reflection in November. Putting the cart before the horse so I can concentrate my sights on the good news at the end of the Christmas schedule. By December 1st my resolutions are on paper! I enjoyed my last years resolution of speaking about my Dad to my kids. This has been wholly healing for me and I intend to continue this work and improve on the simple short stories to include pictures this year. Maybe by this time next year I can look at and process the cards we received at his funeral.

My other continuing resolution centers on this business. Setting limitations, focusing on whats important and not giving myself away (emotionally or physically) in the process. Specifically I will begin January with yet another new way to complete my invoices. The Google sheets was a nice stepping off point that proved to simply be too labor intensive. Trying to delegate this task was an absolute “no go!”. I am going to try Simply Accounting with the hope that the computer will be able pick up the work I need delegated, automatically creating spreadsheets and invoices.

The resolution that I’m most worried about (and most determined to make habit) is to hold on to me. To live life. I will ground myself in quiet, eat raw food I feel good about, learn a ton of new things, go new places, spend more time with my horses and generally let others own their own needs.  As I am swamped in feeling guilt, pressure and anxiety, I look forward to January 1st. A new year’s day, the day I selfishly book next year’s Christmas, to get away….simply get away….far, far away.