Friday, December 23, 2005

The Holidays Are Officially Underway…

Companies are closing up shop; folks are swarming the malls, the internet and stores for last minute items. The grocery stores are filled with folks stocking up on food and snacks, and nearly everywhere folks are wishing each other a Merry Christmas, or a Happy Holidays. It really is a wonderful time of year.

Each year about this time I find myself wondering where all of this love, caring and generosity goes. Why do these same folks, who wish complete strangers a wonderful season, revert to their own ‘space’ and barely acknowledge the existence of the same people they wished a Merry Christmas?

I ponder at times how different the world would be if we just hung on to the spirit of Christmas all year. That we took time out to notice the world around us and made an effort to do something, for someone less fortunate than us, everyday.

Those thoughts then have me thinking what a wonderful upward spiral that would be. That all of next year, folks would be a wonderful as they are this year at Christmas, and than the cycle would be repeated, each year folks being better to one another than they were the year before.

Just about the time I begin to perfectly envision this ‘fantasy world’ something jolts me back to reality. Some over zealous shopper snatches a toy from the hands of another shopper. A person obviously in a far bigger hurry than me cuts me off in traffic, and I’m left wiping my morning coffee off the dashboard. Someone responds to my “Merry Christmas” with a sharply snapped one finger wave… I realize that not ‘everyone’ is truly in a good mood!

None of that can dampen my spirits this year though. I’ve got nothing but good things in my heart this year.

At this time last year I was recovering from the trauma of a recent career shift, and a fairly uncertain 2005. My wife was still recovering from a recent surgery and our lives were pretty ‘upside-down’.

Now, a year later, I’ve had one of the best years of my life, both professionally and personally.

My relationship with my wife is stronger and deeper than it’s ever been, partly because of what we’ve been through together, but, mostly because we’ve worked at making it that way.

From a professional standpoint I’ve done some of the best work of my career over the past 12 months, all with less stress and more support and appreciation than I’ve ever known.

Two of my good friends, who also went through a ‘career shift’ about the same time as I did, are both doing very well. They’ve both found good jobs, where their talents and efforts are appreciated, and are making more money as well!

Most of all though, my heart is filled with thanks for the fact that Mom is doing so well, she continues to improve each day and while she’s never going to be ‘20’ again, she’s certainly got a lot to look forward to as well.

I suppose I could focus on any of a hundred things that aren’t perfect, but, the truth is, life isn’t about it being perfect, it’s about what we make of it.

I find that it’s what I focus on that becomes my life.

If I focus on the good things, my life feels full and rich. If, on the other hand, I focus on all those things that aren’t right, it suddenly feels not quite so full and rich.

I know the difference because I’ve had both as the primary focus in my life at one time or another. Over time I’ve decided that I’m much happier, and far less stressed, when I focus on what’s right, and good, in my life. That, not letting the things I’d like to be better take center stage, helps me see ways to change them and make them better.

I don’t always succeed, in fact, at times I feel like I fail far more than not. It’s during those times that I remind myself that failure is simply a way of reminding me I’m taking enough risks. That a lack of failure in my life means I’m playing it safe, going for the ‘sure thing’, instead to stretching out and looking to push the envelope.

I’m not sure how much I’ll be around the blog over the weekend, so, before I go I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas!! I hope the season finds your heart, and your plate, full!!


Nina said...

Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful wife. May 2006 be filled with love and blessings for you both.

Dizzy Ms. Lizzy said...

Merry Christmas, Bill!


Nic said...

I am so glad that 2005 was an improved year over the previous one. May 2006 be even better for you and your dear wife. I hope your Christmas is an especially merry one and that your new year is even more wonderful!

Bill said...

Nanina, Lizzy and Nic - Thanks!! The best to you and yours... may this be your best Christmas ever!!

Comfort Addict said...

What a wonderful and inspirational post that was, Bill. Your strength of character amazes me.

Interestingly, I have been doing some last-minute Christmas shopping. I couldn't help but notice how tense and upset many people around me were. Given the extreme stress that I've been under in all facets of my life, I normally would have expected to be harried and irritable. Instead, though, I felt a great desire to be calm and try to help. I gave up parking spots for people in a hurry and tried to be extra-nice to cashiers and store employees. I don't know if this helped but I know that, at least, I wasn't contributing to an atmosphere of upset.

I'm so glad that your mother continues to improve. I hope that you, your wife, family and friends have a wonderful, loving Christmas.

Bill said...

CA - Thanks man... very nice of you to say!!

I love doing those kinds of things when the malls are busy... just the look on a persons face when you give them the parking spot is priceless!!

I hope you, and your family have a wonderful holiday my friend... Merry Christmas!!