It is important to make note and celebrate the little victories along the journey of life. All those little victories add up to big changes down the road. Today I had one of those little victories. I realized it when I got the boxes out of the attic to put the Christmas decorations away and take down the tree. But first, let me backtrack a little...
When I was younger, I LOVED Christmas!! I could not wait for it every year and was always a little sad when it was over. But somewhere along the way, the holiday season had become a stressful time for me. So stressful that in recent years, I could not wait to take down the tree ASAP! Last year, Christmas was on Sunday and my husband didn't have anymore vacation days left for the year so he had to go back to work the next day. I remember telling him Christmas night that I was going to take down the tree the next day. He asked me not to, to consider the kids and wait a little longer. But I had gotten myself so worked up that I just wanted Christmas to be over. I told him I would think about leaving it up a couple more days and I did, but only for the kids. He told me sometime later that he wasn't sure if the tree would still be up when he got back home from work on Dec. 26 or not.
That brings me to this year. Christmas with all the extended family was really good this year but I still ended up feeling a bit overwhelmed and "spent" after it was over. The difference this year was that for the first time in several years, I did not go into the holidays dreading it. But then when I still felt overwhelmed this year, I began to feel discouraged because I couldn't figure out why I felt this way. After all, I went into the holidays with a good attitude this year. So why did I still feel bad? I came to realize that I think that is how my mind and body reacts to the situation. My family is filled with lots of strong personalities and while all these personalities meshed well together this year, it still is a lot of energy in a contained space. And because I went into the holidays with a good attitude this year, I was able to see that perhaps some of the cause for all my angst in years past had to do with me reacting to all that energy. After realizing that, I resolved to plan more time to relax next year around the holidays to offset the high energy of all my wonderful family members. I'm excited to see how that helps next year.
Back to this year and the Christmas tree. I got the boxes out of the attic today to put away the decorations because today is New Years Day and I thought it was probably time to take it down. When my husband saw me with the boxes, he asked if I could wait until tomorrow and we could enjoy it for one more night. When he asked me that, I was more than happy to agree to it. My heart wasn't into taking down the tree yet. I am actually NOT happy and excited about taking down the tree this year. What a change from last year! Last year I couldn't wait to take it down and this year I'm not ready for it to end. That is a victory in my book! The hard work that I have been putting into therapy and working on myself this year is paying off and I am beginning to see the reward of my efforts in more and more places in my life. And that is a very wonderful thing indeed!