The Ghost of Christmas Future

Christmas, especially, seems to bring out the best and the worst in people. I, for one, always feel pressured to present the perfect Christmas for my family and friends. The food not only has to be great but everyone's particular favorites have to be included. The presents I bought need to be just what that person needs/wants. Everyone's favorite cookies have to be baked from scratch. The house has to be immaculate (it's supposed to look like no one lives here). I have to be charming and happy or people ask me what's wrong. The list goes on. But I've come to realize that I create this stress, no one else does. But is it worth it?

I work in a 440+ bed hospital reviewing the physician documentation in the charts of people currently in the hospital, ensuring that the doctors document everything they're treating, monitoring, or evaluating. More than you needed to know, but it explains why I know a lot of information about a lot of people.

Most charts reveal that a person is sick but they will most likely recover. They have pneumonia, some sort of infection, or a condition that is not life-threatening. I also read charts that tell me that this patient, in all likelihood, may be spending their last Christmas on earth. They may have just been diagnosed with a terminal illness or they may have been struggling for a long time. What I don't see in the lines of illegible writing, flow sheets, and computer-generated orders is that this person, who is frail, elderly, and dependent, is beloved by a family somewhere and will be greatly missed one of these holidays.

Which brings me to the point of this post: time is short. Too short to sweat the small stuff, and unless you're facing your own tragedy, it's all small stuff in the great cosmos of life. My goal is to try to spend this holiday season as if it's the last. To wring every moment of joy out of it. I want to give joy to someone who doesn't have any and let go of past grudges.

As the Christmases come and go, the list of people who aren't here to celebrate with us keeps getting longer. I look back and discover that I miss even the ones who drove me crazy. At some point you realize that you have more Christmases behind you than ahead of you. How do you want to spend them? Checking lists and scratching off things to do, so the holiday goes by even faster, or cherishing the disasters (so the turkey had to go back in the oven for another hour?) and reveling in the people we love?

I am challenging myself to savor every imperfect moment this year. I hope you will, too.


Laurence said...

You are absolutly right : time is short... too short !

Mocha said...

That sounds delightfully lovely. Savoring the imperfect moments is difficult so remember to laugh at them first. The absurdity of it will help the laughter come easily.

How're you liking the dark side? Did you get the complimentary Cocoa Puffs with your new blog?

Mrs. RW said...

Cocoa puffs? Who sends those? Having an outlet for writing mostly nothing is somewhat seductive.