One of my dear friends is turning 60 this coming week. I sent her a card and assured her it was going to be OK. I may have been a total mess back in 2010, but with her mature outlook and strong leadership style she will likely only cry a little and get ready to keep on shining as she enters her 60s. She has a high-powered job and lives in NYC – I think both these things will help Kathy transition smoothly.
Another of my dear friends is turning 70 next week. She is beautiful, strong, determined and brave. She just had knee surgery and is recovering from that agony with grace and little fuss. Barbara has been a FabulousOver60 woman during this last decade. How will she handle turning 70? My guess is she’ll wince at her change in decades; and then proceed to do her 70s every bit as well as she did her 60s. Not sure of the right adjective to use for the 70s yet. Thankfully there is time for that to come to me as I spend my final 2 years in my sixties starting this January.
As I recover from a lovely Thanksgiving with only one major upset which is now receding into family history; and start getting into the holiday card, shopping and celebration season, I am reminded of some important wisdom. It is simply this: that any given day in our lives, especially the very hard ones, can be long. But the years go quickly as we review the years of holidays past come late November and early December. Which means, having great holidays are not only nice to have, but a must-have for our older selves. We have no holidays to waste or energy to squander. Here’s my big three ideas to make it so – please borrow whatever strikes you as sensible and doable for you.
Idea #1: Act with a light heart and extreme gentleness. In this past year we have all seen more bad behavior from leaders at workplaces, in politics, or around one of our own corners than I thought was even possible. Despite believing I have “seen it all” some of these outrageous acts have really shocked me. Actions and language have been too rough, crude, and in some cases actually dangerous. So my first plan is to meditate daily, pray frequently, and approach any actions this holiday with a light hand as well as heart. I refuse to be drawn into any heated discussions or expose myself to negative energy and overall nonsense. I am becoming as peaceful as possible and when interacting with anyone at anytime in the next weeks before the new year, my goal is to be soft and kind in every way possible.
Idea #2: Give what you can and want to, but don’t overdo. More simply, put happy boundaries on the holiday. That means making choices. I am definitely going to write and send cards – it is something I actually like doing. It gives me a chance to reach out and touch people I am not able to see or visit with during the year. Or, a chance to say something I have been meaning to say but just hadn’t had the opportunity to. I am not going to get overwrought with shopping though. Am limiting who I buy for and what I spend. There are so many amazing sales it really isn’t hard to act with a conscious and common sense.
My daughter Courtney just helped me out too. She wrote that our Christmas in New York with all her husband’s truly wonderful family will include the “Secret Santa thing”. For those of you unfamiliar with this approach, it works like this. All the adults who are meeting on Christmas will draw names of one other adult who will be in attendance. Everyone buys one gift for the person they “drew” and everyone gets one gift – a huge break for a fruitcake like me who would normally get something individually for each of the 20+ people who attend. Amen Angels – I thank you with all my heart.
In addition to my fruitiness and nuttiness and due to my compulsiveness I have already shopped for many of those who will be at the event now having a “Secret Santa approach”. SO, I can now use much of what I have bought early as gifts for other family and friends on my list. Hurrah for me!!! Forced by sensible relatives to take it all down a notch.
Idea #3: Keep events short, monitor drinking and eating, and spend loving but not too much time with any given family member or friend. No matter what, the holidays can be stressful. Sadness at lost family and friends can bring un-prepared tears and sadness; too much sugar and partying can drain our patience; and the volume of noise, running pets and multitude of people in small places can wreck havoc with even a normally calm person’s center. So plan accordingly. Going out to dinner one night? Make the next evening simple, slow and low key. Lots of visitors on one day? Try to take in a movie the next day. Balance and pace the time to include all types of love and happiness, and keep it low key enough not to make yourself or anyone around you sick, irritable or grumpy.
Let me take this opportunity to wish you and all those you love and hold dear to have beautiful, peaceful and fun-filled holidays. May there truly be peace on earth — good will toward each and everyone!