Tuesday, December 15, 2020

What a Difference a Year Makes

2020 has been a dumpster fire for most if us.  For myself, I did a year of research for a book in 2019 that I have only written about half of in 2020.  I’ve gone from a runner whose weight was going in the right direction to a guy who lacks the social queues to remind him to shower and shave. 

For me, what a difference a year makes, around my waistline specifically.

But this isn’t about my fattitude.

It’s about my wife’s attitude.

Spoiler Alert: if you are of the mind that your Elf on the Shelf departs every evening to the North Pole to inform the man in red about your behavior, you may want to skip forward a paragraph or two. I’ll begin again in 3….2….1….

 So last night, my wife and I were doing our evening duty of finding a new vantage point for Jingles, our elf to watch our children. I was distracted, probably by a sandwich judging by my 2020 track record, so Adrienne wound up taking care of it herself. 

I was on the couch when I heard giggling from upstairs.  It was Adrienne, pleased with the predicament she had put Jingles in.  It seems Jingles had been captured by a host of other Christmas toys and was now taped to the inside of a glass panel in a cabinet. 

It was funny, but that’s not what this is about either. 

It was her effortless laugh.  You see, for the last couple of year’s Adrienne has had a tough go.  She had committed herself to a career that was perfectly stressful and completely thankless.  Her health suffered.  Her relationships suffered.  Her self-worth suffered.  She was unhappy but like so many people she equated who she was with what she did for a living.  She was unhappy, for lack of a better term.  A few months ago she left the position unceremoniously.  She added scared to the rest of the things she was feeling.

But then something funny happened.  She didn’t miss it.  Sure, there was the sense of impending doom that comes along with losing a job during a pandemic and there were regrets of friendships that were lost.  There were no tears, no real anger and no laments.

Once the immediate pant-soiling fear of unemployed in a pandemic subsided, what was left was someone who realized what she was sacrificing to keep up with a job that had little interest in her succeeding herself. 

Fast forward to December.  Last year, I took care of the holidays pretty much by myself.  Christmas was just another day to Adrienne.  Something to endure.  Phone calls from coworkers that seldom realized boundaries asking for help despite the fact that it was Christmas Eve.  She smiled, sure, but it was forced and transparent. 

This year, I live with a wife that couldn’t wait to cook Thanksgiving dinner, do some Christmas shopping, wrap gifts or even tape an Elf in a shelf.  What a difference a year makes.

The lesson here, girls?  Well, it’s an easier one to say than to live by.  A job is just a job but your health and your family are forever.  All of you noticed a change in mommy over those last few months.  Mommy listening to Christmas music and running and eating better.  Mommy and I always promise ourselves that if our work starts getting in the way of our family we would need to reevaluate.  I think this is the best example we’ve had. 

You need to keep in mind what you are doing and what you are trading to do it.  Sometimes the tradeoff is worthwhile, like giving up your evenings to soccer practice, and sometimes its not, like giving up family time to watch YouTube.  Make a decision to do what betters you and don’t punish yourself if it takes a while to make the decision. 

Now, I’m going to make the decision to go downstairs and spend time with my family instead it ticking away at this keyboard.

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