I'm not a big fan of the traditional self-evaluation at the New Year and setting up resolutions to make a better life for the next Gregorian calendar, but I myself like to do a life-evaluation at Christmas.
As I sit here vacationing in the Pacific Northwest with one of my best friends, enjoying one of my favorite cities, Seattle, and looking forward to experiencing Victoria Island and Vancouver in the next two weeks, I'm enjoying life, have two great jobs that provide different opportunities for me, and will soon buy my first home. I always think, if you can't be happy at Christmas, when can you be happy.
But yes, Christmas is more than just about you, yourself, being the only happy one around. As mentioned, there is self-evaluation and life-evaluation. One reason I came out to Seattle was not only to have a great time, but as well to make sure my good friend had a great time. He's on a long trip and taking some time to regroup and enjoy life himself and looking into the future and to see what he wants to do moving forward after a major life event. As we sit having bagels and mimosas by the fireplace, yes, we are enjoying it all, but we also are reflecting on where we've been and thinking about where we are going. One thing that made us smile was something that happened to both of us, just yesterday.
My friend and I were standing at Three Girls Bakery near Pike Place Market, trying to decide which loaf of bread we would get to compliment our homemade Christmas dinner. A woman walked up and said, "I always get the fig (i forget the full name) bread. We come from Hawaii to Seattle and every time we come, I have to get myself to Three Girls Bakery and get this bread." I think we both liked the idea of someone else deciding for us, since we were all over the place. We took her choice and went back in line, about three people behind her and her husband and waited to order the bread that was housed behind the counter. I heard her order three loaves of that fig something something bread as well as a couple of other loaves and was trying to remember if there were more than three in the display case. I turned to my friend and said, what do we do if she just told us what bread to buy and then she bought it all? They bagged up her bread in three different bags and they left the counter window. She approached us and said Merry Christmas and handed us a bag containing the loaf of bread she recommended, which was the most expensive kind of bread they sold. We were both taken back by her simple generosity and was reminded of being kind to strangers, small acts of kindness, and just love thy neighbor. Yeah, the mushy gooey corny stuff, and we felt great. Of course, that small act of kindness stuck with us and reminded us that little things like that, paying it forward, being kind, sharing a little bit of yourself, can brighten someone's day.
One of the biggest presents you can open at Christmas time is yourself. Open yourself to others, may it be through presents, gifts, acts of kindness, or just simple words. I stumbled upon a post by one of Instinct Magazine's friends, Matthew. He shared with ImFromDriftwood his story of leaving a cult that was not accepting of his life, of who he was and is.
Imagine making that choice to remove yourself from not only that environment but your family. I know that many of us have had to make that choice to leave the blood family and make a chosen family and are better off for it.
We need to look back and embrace those hard tough choices that helped make us who we are. Matthew shared on his Facebook –
This was a hard story to tell – but I hope it can bring courage and hope to someone else in a similar situation.
Thank you Matthew for sharing your story. We know it was tough to share, but we are also sure, every time you do share the story, it reaffirms that your choice was the right thing.
So as you sit on your sofa, couch, sandy beach this Christmas, jungle canopy hammock, take some time to look back on some of those tough choices, the blessings you have, your family or your chosen family, and what you have.
Merry Christmas everyone. Embrace who you are. You're the best present to yourself and those around you.