The Best Gift is Time to Think

Santa stained glass Christmas tree ornament from Tobiason Studios St Joseph MO (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Santa stained glass Christmas ornament from Tobiason Studios in downtown St. Joseph, Missouri (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

As the holiday season bustled around us, my Mom would invariably lament, “I haven’t had time to just sit and look at the tree.”

Who in the world would want to sit, stare at something, and do nothing, my teenage self would think.

There’s a different attitude in middle age, let me tell you, as I juggle running a business, a household (sort of – the housekeeping part of that doesn’t get much of my attention,) and do the standard “sandwich generation” dance of worrying about both kids and parents.

The greatest gift of the holiday season is not wrapped or tied with a bow. It is the world hitting Pause so that you can muse, consider, wonder, puzzle, stare, contemplate, observe, reflect….think.

Think about the previous year. Think about what made you happy and fulfilled (so you can plan to do more of it,) what made your brain feel like a toxic waste dump (so you can plan to do less of it,) and get yourself centered.

Oddly enough for a travel enthusiast, I don’t think that much about where I might be going in the coming year. When travel is part of work, it’s a lot less romantic galavanting and a lot more of thoughts like, “Did I remember to check in 24 hours ahead on Southwest Airlines, so I’m in Group A and avoid getting middle seats as a choice?”

NOT relaxing.

As I write this, the most important things I want to do today are to go for a walk, get a quick haircut and wrap a last present or two. That’s it.

It’s winter, so there’s no real yard work demanding attention. The email deluge is now a mere trickle, except for all those brands sending me holiday greetings that clutter up a newly-quiet inbox. The day’s snail mail has mostly Christmas cards and presents instead of credit card and (eeeww!) AARP membership offers.

I can feel time slowing down; that’s a gift that I’m happy to unwrap and savor.

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