November is the month during which we are inevitably constantly reminded in various ways that the current year will soon be drawing to a close. Invitations to year end functions arrive; Christmas decorations go up in the stores; carols are played ad nauseam in elevators and shopping centres; Facebook spreads jokes about the number of shopping days left … and more.
It is with some wonderment each year that I observe the almost panicked pace at which everyone ‘hurries up’ in order to ‘slow down’ as year-end draws closer. More so as the envisaged ‘slowing down’ is often an illusion for those juggling work; shopping; entertaining; cooking and negotiating around the family dynamics that so often emerge alongside the expectation of being ‘happy’ and ‘festive’. Instead of falling into the same old traps this year, perhaps these last weeks can be handled differently, with less pressure, more genuine enjoyment, gratitude and grace. My late mother-in-law used to say that the Festive Season is about family; relationships; spending time together with those we love and giving thanks for our journey together so far – a time of pause, rather than that of heightened activity.
With this in mind, perhaps it would be a worthwhile exercise to fill the weeks leading up to Christmas, calmly and deliberately thinking about the value of each of our relationships – what they mean and for what we are most grateful. Rather than rushing out to buy gifts or throwing ourselves into parties, maybe each of us could consider writing a note of gratitude to those we love for being in our lives; sharing what makes them special, and investing in the recall, acknowledgment and relishing of the memories that our history together has made.
No one can foretell the future. Nobody knows who will still be at our side this time next year. All we have is the present; the greatest gift of all. The upcoming weeks offer an opportunity to create a gift of timeless giving, irrespective of what the upcoming New Year brings. Use them wisely.
Written for and published in the November 2016 edition of the Bay Magazine in my capacity as Personal Business Coach, Business Owner and Consultant