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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Deck the Halls, Ho Ho Ho, Bah Humbug

The end of December is rapidly approaching. It always does. While I'd love to do something to stave off that transition from holiday through New Year into the January blahs, I've discovered time marches on in spite of me. At the close of each year, I try to look back over the last twelve months to see what I accomplished and which tasks are still there to carry forward into the year to come. I'm sure it won't come as a big surprise that the, ahem, less desirable tasks seem to show up on my hit list year after year. Things like deep clean the house and finish up edits for a book I completed six months ago.

It's human nature to want to do the things where you can stand back and look at what you've accomplished. As a long time governmental administrator, there really aren't very many tasks like that. You know, the ones with a beginning, middle and end where you can actually see a difference. After a ten year argument, I finally got the county to agree to let me put opening windows in mental health's five thousand square foot office suite on the third floor. I think the propane leak last winter that practically killed all of us convinced them opening windows weren't frivolous. Now there's a project--albeit a very long term one--that makes me feel I've accomplished something. I was bragging to my husband about my open-up windows. Since I'm basically retired, he just looked at me and said something like, "That's nice, Frodo. You've saved Middle Earth, but not for you." Sigh, how true. Someone will enjoy those windows, but it won't be me.

Isn't that the way of things, though. You knock yourself out and someone else reaps the benefit of your blood, sweat and tears. I came to terms with that a long time ago. It's not important for someone else to give me an "atta girl" if I know in my secret heart I did the right thing. To me, that's at the very center of the holiday season. Doing the right thing regardless if anyone notices or not. Remember the O'Henry story where both halves of a couple sell their most prized possessions to get their loved one something for Christmas? She sells her hair and he sells his watch. Well, he buys her combs for her hair and she buys him a fob for his watch. Some might call that story stupid, but it's always warmed my heart.

Regardless of whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa or some pagan version of the Winter Solstice, I wish the the merriest of seasons. A time for contemplation, a time for joy and a time to regroup and find places to love in yourself and others.

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