I'm putting this here mostly as a reminder to myself to hold myself accountable.
Here I am, again.
Year after year I do this pilgrimage south to see all the people. The friends and the family. The people I miss and the connections I crave.
And year after year, it drains me to the core.
It starts with the best of intentions. I visualize myself in the perfect outfit, sparkly smile on my face, cocktail in hand, laughing and hugging with a cousin I only see once a year. I am snacking on carrot sticks and avoiding all the cookies. Obviously.
It ends up being a whirlwind of each day a different place, with different people. Huge meals at random times of day. Noshing on sugar and carbs that swell my face and body. And every night more alcohol to try to shake the uncomfortableness.
Can you relate?
The actual connections are too short, though they be sweet. We cram the whole extended family into one 19 hour party where no one really gets a chance to talk to anyone. Fun, chaotic, and over way too soon. Because everyone is on their own pilgrimage to see all of their people. And as much as we try, no one is truly relaxed.
We are all dealing with the stress of not being in our own spaces with our own routines. We are deep in the feelings that come from being in places where we were children, with people we were children with, and not being allowed enough time to process it all.
Add to that all the new children who are creating their own memories while they run around us, interrupting conversations, CONSTANTLY interrupting, and needing help with navigating around this different space.
So as I sit here nearing the end of the whirlwind, I feel the need to catalogue what I've learned and hope that I can make some changes for next year's holiday debacle. Here's the ideal:
1. Stay in one place. As much as possible. If you can't stay at home, pick one place to go and stay there. Having a home base where you can take some things out of your suitcase and leave your toothbrush in the bathroom for more than one night is comforting and necessary.
2. Pack light. Like one pair of pants, one sweater, one set of pj's, and one pair of shoes. Do you care that your cousin is wearing the same jeans every day? No. They look great on her and that's all you see. She doesn't care what you're wearing either. Save that extra space for LOTS of running clothes so you can escape with headphones every day if you need to.
3. Get that alone time! As an introvert, I need time to escape on the daily. Otherwise I literally feel like I'm going to die. Some people are energized by the chaos and socializing. Go crazy extroverts, I am not one of those people. So go for a walk, jog, yoga class, coffee shop, whatever your jam, just do it. (Do I owe Nike money now?)
4. (This one is for divorced parents) Don't try to fit in both sides of the family. Just let the poor kid be with one family and not have to shuttle back and forth. Honestly, I don't know if this is even possible in my situation, but it was definitely the hardest part of the week. What day is it, anyway?
All that being said, this week has been full of so much love and fun. I adore my whole family. I feel so lucky to have all of these incredible people in my life. And my "whole family" includes my family of friends that know me better than anyone. The beautiful people who I can just "be" with. You all fill me up and I am heading home tomorrow with my cup overflowing. Thank you.
Now I am putting it in my calendar for November 1, 2020 to go back and read this. Hope it might be helpful for you too.
Happy New Year!
Ps. Here is a little photo album of some snippets and outtakes from the past week...
I swear, the car is full of lovely treasures, not heading to recycling 🙄
"Hurry up, the sun is going down!"
New friends ❤️ Hanukkah with kiddos 💕
Childhood home weirdness... Sister friends under a shit ton of lamps... outtake 😂
Mom. 10 year holiday tradition with G'ma...
More sister friends ❤️❤️ ❤️❤️❤️😂
I swear we also celebrate Christmas. We actually had 3 Christmas celebrations and counting but I can't find any pictures of that.
Happy everything to everyone! ❤️💗✌️