Wednesday, December 19, 2007

remixing holiday expectations

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It has taken me a full year to start to come to terms with the ways chronic illness has changed my ability to do the things I used to do at the holidays. In this time, however, I've also allowed myself to think of ways to have some of what I used to have by doing things differently. I have realized I don't have to give up everything I enjoy about the holidays. Instead, I have to accept that things won't necessarily happen according to my standards or in the way they did pre-chronic pain.

e-mail holiday cards
I've always enjoyed sending out unique holiday cards to all my loved ones, but I realized shortly after Thanksgiving that it was not realistic for me to try to do that this year. I was disappointed and sad until I realized I could put my graphic design skills to use and design a fun card to send out by e-mail. I had a blast designing the card, and I've already received enthusiastic responses about my creativity.

quality time instead of gifts
With the financial strains we are under since I stopped working, it is not appropriate or responsible of us to spend money buying each other or our families gifts. However, knowing we won't buy things for each other has greatly increased my focus on appreciating the time I get to spend with C and my family. That time together is so much more valuable and thrilling than material goods could ever be. Sometimes it's still hard to not be able to select thoughtful gifts for my friends and family, as this is something I've always loved doing, but it helps to focus my attention elsewhere.

scaled down decorations
I simply don't have the energy and C doesn't have the time to do a full blown decorating sweep of our home. We've put out just a few little items throughout the house that remind us it is the holiday season. This is more than enough, and I would never have thought it so.

focusing on what is within my reach
I don't have to give up the holiday movies or music I love because of my limitations. In fact, I have more time than ever to fill with mindless entertainment when I'm laid up with pain, and I'm choosing to indulge in the movies and music that bring me joy this time of year.

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