The featured image has little or nothing to do with the post. I couldn’t find the photo I wanted, so I went for some shameless cute factor. You’re welcome.
There’s a lot of same-old same-old in the end of 2022 article department. Five tips here, seven ideas there. Top 25 this, “Best-Of” that. Blah, blah.
What if…what if, just for this year, you didn’t follow anyone’s annual advice? Didn’t read any of the lists?
What if you canceled something for absolutely no reason? Refused to bake the snickerdoodles for the holiday party?
What if you skipped setting goals for 2023, or threw out the vision board?
What if you let most of this stuff go?
Sometimes we must let things go, like when we’re sick or have to deal with an emergency, or even if we have to push to finish a big project. In those situations there’s nothing more important than the crisis at hand. Forced prioritization. Quadrant I stuff, for those Eisenhower Matrix acolytes out there (like me). When we get through the situation to the other side, we come to understand that the Earth is still spinning on its axis. The situation resolves, sooner or later.
But how much of the mid-to-late December dust-up of advice, reviews, requests, think-abouts, “hey don’t forget to” stuff is manufactured prioritization? Culturally inspired (guilted?) prioritization? How many of the things we commit to during The Season are to fulfill the expectations of others, or reactive responses to the usual external cues?
The other day I caught myself falling into a list of the “10 Best Books of 2022”, and starting to pick out which ones I needed to request or put on yet another list (!)…when I realized I had about seven unread books on my shelf just from this year alone. What was going on there? My mindless response, I suppose. Marketers and retailers count on this sort of response, of course.
A week or two ago, a friend asked me how much of my holiday decorating I had completed.
“Well, I’ve got a wreath on the door, and that’s pretty much it.”
And they replied, “And that’s probably all you need.”
Not, “Oh my gosh, we get our stuff up right after Thanksgiving,” or, “Gee, I would have thought you’d have everything all in place.” It made me stop and think – what an incredibly kind thing it was to say (particularly for the immediate post-Quadrant I place I was in at the time).
It made me think, too, that I had already been ignoring the usual external cues this year (with the exception of the aforementioned book list). What would it be like to intentionally keep ignoring the messaging for a bit? I’m not telling you to refuse to put up your tree, gather with family, or plan out your 2023. That would be me giving advice, and you maybe taking it, wouldn’t it?
I’m gently suggesting you take a pause and examine your Big Whys. What’s the meaning behind what you choose to do or not do? Where’s the impetus to add something to the list coming from? As Big Bird says,
“Asking questions is a good way of finding out things.”
It’s not always easy, calling to mind our Whys. But like culling through objects in a closet or drawer, considering, “Why do I have this _______ (flashlight, old key, jacket with holes, etc.),” taking a hard look at the choices you make with your time and energy is freeing. And, as I write this, I realize the process is similar to my idea of Pivotal Objects. Considering how various “Pivotal Tasks” contribute to your success or reflect your values, sometimes you keep the commitments, and sometimes you let them go. Either way, you can breathe a little easier.
I did do more decorating, purely because I wanted to. I’ll probably bake a batch of cookies somewhere along the line (because my family likes that, and I like my family). I’m not ordering any more books (for now 😉). And this will be my last post for the year, because I’m intentionally taking a break to focus on other things.
So, I’ll see you in the next one. Wishing you a happy, peaceful, intentional December.