On Not Trudging Through the Holiday Season


This December has been absolutely bananas. My tendency–when life is this busy–has been to trudge through everything I need to do, feeling exhausted and martyr-y. This year, I have made a strong and sustained effort to NOT slog my way through ANYthing. This month has definitely tested that effort.

See, it’s one thing to spout off about stoicism when life is going at a normal pace but quite another task altogether to manage a season of intensity using perspective. But I am trying, with varying degrees of success. Here’s what is on my plate:


In a normal month, my growing business takes up large amounts of my time and energy. I love being an entrepreneur, the business partnership is going really well and I am very proud of the work we’ve done. We hit our stretch revenue goal this month, and considering we’ve bootstrapped our company with our own freelancing and taken no outside funding, I am pretty proud about that. There is tremendous control and flexibility that comes with working from home and deciding what projects to take. The downside of being a business owner is that I am pretty much always on, and there are no days off. But I love what I do, so that seems like a good tradeoff.

We had two huge projects that we pushed live in the first week of December. I worked 60 hours that week (which I haven’t done since starting the business). We also have had multiple client events and parties to attend this month. This coincided with…

The Nutcracker

My daughter is performing in a big city Nutcracker ballet production. It’s a whole other level of extracurricular activity. We had to sign entertainment licenses with the state, and arrange for her to be transported back and forth 30 miles for multiple performances at VERY specific times–and you CANNOT be late. She is in a total of 16 performances this month, including matinees and evenings. She’s missing some school, and she’s only ever missed a few days of school in her elementary school life. We’ve had to hire babysitters to help us drive her back and forth because we both work full time. Complicating matters is the fact that we couldn’t find out what performances she would be in until the week before they began. When I saw the list, I literally burst into tears (not my proudest moment) as I could not fathom HOW we could make all that driving happen. My husband created a spreadsheet but there were many moments when we feel like this:

Math lady

My Son’s Karate

My son had a huge belt test, and is now in advanced karate — it’s intense and involves more practice. At least the dojo is close to our house, but between this, school, holiday events and the Nutcracker, it’s A LOT. Speaking of events…

Holiday Fun Stuff

We have almost two dozen events scheduled this month. From company cocktail parties to my in-laws’ 50th wedding anniversary dinner (which was almost as elaborate as a wedding) to a holiday dinner party we hosted and cooked for last week, every event has been so wonderful. Yet, I’ve had to struggle to get into the spirit sometimes, especially after a long day of work.

Using Mindfulness

What has worked? This month, I’ve been relying on that boring old chestnut–mindfulness. Being in the moment.

Seeing my daughter join world class ballet dancers on stage was a huge life highlight. I always enjoy the parties, once I get there. I savored the success of the projects we launched, rather than just plowing on to the next big thing.

And, for the first time, I have actually contemplated the thought that sometimes, it’s OK to make life complicated. (Gretchen Rubin discussed this in a thought provoking podcast episode.)

It’s a concept I am considering, as I enter the New Year and think about my goals and planning.

What about you? Do you prefer simplicity during busy times? Or is a more complicated schedule the way to go? 




Filed under stoicism

2 responses to “On Not Trudging Through the Holiday Season

  1. At a rough estimate, 99.3% of people would envy you such a busy, happy life. The others lie about everything.

  2. That is a lot! This year has been all about simplification for me. I’ve gone through so much over the past year that my goal became getting through the holidays without getting sick.

    So cool that your daughter is getting that experience of dancing in the Nutcracker with a professional company! When I was a young dancer, it was always my favorite time of year, being in the same space as the professionals…

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