So I'm traveling this week for the holidays. I'm thankful for the chance to have a break from my routine, to travel, and to see my family!
Of course, I've found that during the holidays, despite the general understanding that it should be about peace and love, people often find themselves being rude or inconsiderate toward strangers and even very short-tempered with their family and friends because of the inherent stress that the season brings with it. I understand that we're all stressed and excited and have a billion things to do and not enough time to do it in...but let's try to remember, that this is actually how we feel MOST of the time. I, for one, couldn't find time to do all of my dishes this week and had to leave the least of the mess until I return from my vacation (don't judge me).
It wasn't really that I didn't have the time, it's that it was not my priority. This week, I focused on myself. I made it a point to go to the gym each day and to eat a real meal for dinner and to teach online each night. I made it a point to go to bed immediately after teaching, and to call or text friends, and that just didn't leave as much time for the dishes, and I'm alright with it.
So, what I want to say is, take your precious time and try to prioritize. The dishes can wait, but you never know what could happen to the PEOPLE in your life between now and the next chance you have to talk to them or see them. Take time for them and for yourself to enjoy the peace and happiness and joy that the New Year inevitably brings. There's something magical about it.
And if you, like me, are traveling this season, do take the time to say the commonly underused but ever-so-important words "please, thank you," and "happy holidays." People who are working, are working HARD and they are away from their families serving YOU. People who are in traffic, are in the same traffic as you are, and are as frustrated as you are. People on the airplanes and in airports, they're trying to get where they need to go, too. Instead of isolating yourself this season, try to see what you have in common with the people around you.
I was lucky enough to do that this weekend. I met a lovely girl from Texas who went to school in Chicago and started a company about food and eating healthy in college with her friend before moving to NYC to build on it. They now have 15 (or more) associated campuses. Who knew? Her company is Spoon University. Feel free to check it out.
I also had the chance to be seated in the middle seat (a seat which I usually dislike because I don't get the window to sleep against nor the aisle for the freedom to walk around) but it worked to my advantage as I couldn't sleep most of the trip despite being insanely tired. I had a delightful conversation and made a new friend who was fascinating. He is both a musical artist and a role manager for other artists. He is based out of New York and loves his little Chihuahua dog more than life. We had a great conversation and I learned a lot about him and his life and career and goals. His stage name is Gemini. He loves old school hip hop.
You know what? I've semi-avoided conversation while traveling for a while just because usually I'm too exhausted by the time I finally get a break to travel and I go into a little zone and pass out between point A and point B. I found it so fulfilling to stay awake this time, and I think it's like a microcosmic lesson for life: STAY AWAKE. There are fascinating things going on around you at any given moment and all you have to do is open yourself up to the opportunity of knowing them! I'm not even sure how those two conversations started. It was rather mutual, I think, and that just goes to show that we aren't all little robots and we do all have an underlying desire to reach out to others and connect, especially at this time of year. So don't close up and fold in on yourself and your immediate kin this season. Stay awake. Feel the love and joy and excitement of the lives around you and embrace them instead of turning them away. Connect.
I leave you with a quote from one of my favorite films, Love Actually, since it seems quite appropriate for the season and the traveling mode that I'm in:
Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around.