Sitting in a cafe, looking at my purse, which was on the table with my coconut milk hot chocolate, and listening to people around me, it strikes me…..Choose happy!; so simple to write but often harder to do.
Sometimes, for completely valid reasons, we can find life difficult or sad. And in those situations, our capacity to choose happy can be significantly and understandably diminished (but not necessarily extinguished). However, sometimes, we actively choose not to choose happy because of an often misguided sense of responsibility, or custom, or expectation. And these past few weeks I have witnessed several examples of why this is often no truer than at Christmas.
In the same shopping trip that I embarrassed myself by laughing out loud at a lady asking her friend if she likes ball sacs (it wasn’t what she said at all, obviously, but thankfully they found it funny when I had to explain why I was laughing) I also overheard this conversation……..
Lady: I suppose we should get some sprouts for Christmas dinner
Man: Why? We don’t like them
Lady: But it’s Christmas, you’ve got to have sprouts at Christmas
Man: Yeah, I guess so
So, up they picked a bunch of sprouts (bunch, pole???), which they spent money on, which they will spend time peeling, crossing and cooking, and then which will probably end up in the bin.
On a similar food theme (well, it is Christmas after all) I told a friend this week that we were having beef and pork for our Christmas dinner. ‘What, no Turkey?’ came the incredulous reply. ‘No’, says I, ‘we don’t particularly like it’. We had to agree to disagree that I hadn’t in fact just p*ssed all over Christmas!
Then, whilst sitting in the coffee shop earlier, I heard two women talking about all the gifts they still have to buy and how so and so has given them something so they have to get them something back, even though they don’t want to. This was in a similar vein to someone last week telling his friend that they were having a guest to dinner that they didn’t want to invite.
None of these people were happy about the choices they were making, they knew that their happiness at Christmas would be impacted upon, but they were making those choices anyway.
I’m not in any way judging, you will do what you choose to do but I do have just one question.
Why? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we choose all of this angst over choosing happy and having the kind of Christmas we want to have?
When we got married, we didn’t have flowers, bridesmaids or a photographer. We had balloons, one page boy and we gave everyone a usb stick to download their pictures on to and give back to us. We even went and played crazy golf in the afternoon with those who wanted to come. And, whilst some people questioned all that, we did what we wanted and had fabulous day, the kind of day that was perfect for us and someone even commented it was one of the nicest weddings they’d attended because it was so relaxed. The photos we got back were also amazing and really captured our day.
Like weddings, Christmas really is just one or two days but we run around preparing for them like our lives depend on it. And, often, this goes beyond preparing to have a nice day. It often creates stress, anxiety, worry, rows, bad feeling and chaos.
I’ve always found this meme both funny and poignant at the same time. I love the last point and it makes me laugh but the first two points just resonate with me so much. I first came across this in 2016 and since then my partner and I have made so many different choices about the kind of Christmas we have, and we love it. No one has fallen out with us, and the world hasn’t stopped turning. We’re happy little elves doing what we want to do, and at peace not doing what we don’t want to do.
I’m not saying be mean to people, or be a miser or a grumpy bah humbug, that actually goes completely against what I’m saying I fact. But, why choose to do things, buy things and spend time with people we don’t want to do, buy or see of it’s going to make you, and maybe them, unhappy?
Have a stop and think today about what you’re planning, buying, eating, doing and seeing. Is it making you happy or are you making choices out of convention or guilt? What will happen if you make different choices in a healthy way? Will the world end? No, probably not. Will it make you happier? Quite possibly