Present Tense

“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” – Hamilton Wright Mabie

As the temperatures fall, and I begin to see the skeletons of the trees and the frost diamonds sparkling in the morning sun, I welcome the idea of a warm wood stove, and quiet evenings spent with family and friends. This can be the most peaceful time of year, if you allow yourself the freedom to enjoy it.

I realize that may be easier said than done. This month, I did some research on the holiday season and discovered that 62% of people say their stress and anxiety is “elevated” this time of year. I think the biggest reason for that is increased responsibilities; we’re stretching ourselves even further physically, mentally, and financially to meet the demands of the season. You can see my Forbes article that addresses that idea here.

These are precious resources- don’t waste them on things that have no real meaning. You don’t need to accept every party invitation you receive. You’re not obligated to cater a holiday meal for 20. You don’t even need to find the perfect gift. The people who love you really could not care less about these things.

You can go small and stay home.

What a relief it has been to throw away the busy social calendar of years past and replace it with a small but treasured group of family and friends who understand the value of time spent. There is no room in life for empty, meaningless, distracted interactions- we’re all exchanging minutes and hours of our all-too-brief lives for everything we do. It should always be worth the trade.

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