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Life Lately

2019 November 18

November is upon us and with each passing year, it’s becoming more and more of a pivotal time for me. After the long, hard days of Halloween (why it has become a six week long holiday, I am not quite sure…) and the upcoming onslaught of December and all the fun and indulgence and over-everything that comes with that, November sits there, (semi) quietly, begging us to take pause.

A few years ago we spent the week of Thanksgiving in Joshua Tree with nothing but nature, my family and a very weak Wifi signal to keep us company. It was one of the best holidays I’ve ever had. It really helped me take notice, and take to heart, what the beauty of Thanksgiving is about beyond the dinners and the decor and the lead up to Christmas. So now I spend November trying to truly live in that place. To be mindful of gratitude and to incorporate it into my day, every single day. To take stock of my attitude towards my world and try to come at things with a positive, open-minded place. To look for better, deeper connections with my family and my friends and those that matter in my life. And, of course, to enjoy the process of prepping for the holidays. To really take time with it and plan ahead and look for inspiration and ideas and recipes without feeling hurried or frantic. Because that’s such a meaningful creative outlet for me and and when you approach it that way – instead of just looking at budgets and to-dos and mile long lists – it helps you remember what the spirit is all about.

Here are a few ways I have embraced November this year with an eye to all of the above:

An Instagram detox. If you follow me on there, you probably saw me post the other day about the detox challenge I am joining. The premise is to delete the app for the next two months, as part of a group of women who are moving their online dialogue and conversation to a Marco Polo group where you can video chat in real-time and have more substantial dialogue and create better connections than we do via most social media. I am this close to deleting the app but haven’t quite pulled the trigger yet but even after just a few days of being in the Marco Polo group, I am so much more aware of how often I end up on Instagram as a habit and an addiction and how quickly it leads me to mindless scrolling and wasted time. I am very focused on changing not only my relationship to Instagram – but my relationship to my phone – going into 2020 and this challenge already has me moving in the right direction.

A writing challenge. I have failed somewhat brilliantly at this but I signed up for a 30-day writing challenge earlier this month and even though I have not excelled at it, it has been an eye-opener for the month. It pushed me to not only challenge myself to stop talking and start doing but also raised a very big red flag right in my face about my short comings on the commitment front when it comes to personal progress. I over deliver at work, with my kids, with my friends and family, but never with myself. Not a rare realization, I am sure, but one that made me take stock of what I can do better going into the end of the year and beyond.

Face timing with friends. I’ve been purposely Facetiming with friends who I typically only converse with via text. And prioritizing in-person meet ups with those who live nearby. Even if they are quick or last-minute or impromptu. I want to see and talk to the people that matter in my life, not just “like” status updates and pretty pictures. The result isn’t surprising. Better conversations, more laughter, stronger connections. And repeat.

Starting Christmas now. No, the lights are not strung quite yet. I truly believe in waiting until after Thanksgiving to start with the music and the decor and the parties. But, I have started making my lists. Checking them twice. Purchasing things in advance and keeping a tally budget and trying my very best to gift from the heart versus from some to-do list. Do I anticipate a stress-free December? Absolutely not. It’s part of the joy of the season. But if my November can soften the road to December even just a little bit, it will be one to remember. And keep with me for the years to come.

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