There is No Such Thing as a Perfect Holiday

Kate Bagoy, December 2016

Yesterday, I attempted to pack my suitcase for 13 months of travel, and began to virtually meet my Remote Year colleagues.

Yep, things got pretty real.

I had a mini-freak out when it didn’t go according to plan, and started getting anxious about the fact that I’m going to be homeless in a few days when I vacate my condo for a renter, that I haven’t gotten a check I’m waiting on, that I have 26 todo items on my list for the next 5 days, etc etc. It could have gotten ugly really quick.

Instead, I was able to recover quickly when I reminded myself of two things:

  1. I am incredibly blessed to have this opportunity to travel, learn and share this experience with others. I don’t *have* to pack for 13 months of travel, I *get* to.
  2. It’s just stuff. While I like my stuff, most of it is replaceable. I only need to focus on what’s really critical and hard to replace on the road.

I’ve learned to accept that freaking out a bit is part of the packing process for me, but the more I let go (in this case, letting go of attachment to material goods), the less anxious I am and the easier it becomes to solve problems. The critical todos will get done, if I’m able to stay calm and focused.

But if I let myself stay anxious and spiral into shame or panic, it’s less likely I’ll get all the things done I need to, and I definitely won’t enjoy any of the process. Can you relate?

The holidays are a stressful time for many as we prep for time with family and shop for gifts or clean the house for company… and we so often get caught up in the idea of having everything be perfect.

  • I need to find the perfect gift.
  • The table has to be set perfectly.
  • I need to have the perfect ugly sweater for the holiday party.

If anything like these thoughts have run through your mind the last few days, imagine how life might be different if you refocused your brain this way:

  • I am blessed to be able to afford to give gifts that bring excitement to my family and friends
  • I am so lucky to have a home and be able to host dinner for the people I love.
  • It’s so cool that I can laugh at myself in this ridiculous sweater, and bring a smile to my coworkers face.

And remember that the holidays are not defined by perfection; people will still have a blast at the party if things don’t go perfectly, will appreciate the gift if it isn’t expensive and will love you just for showing up.

What’s making you anxious or causing you to freak out? What mindset can you change or expectation can you let go of today that will bring you some peace or joy?

I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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