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Friday, November 18, 2016

Huffing and Puffing

Enjoy the View

Like tourists huffing and puffing to reach the peak, we forget the view on the way up.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche wrote, “Enjoy life. This is not a dress rehearsal.” In my experience, this is about the time of year we begin to speed up, and by New Year's, we're swerving, and squealing on the curves. In our drive to do everything on our list, purchase every perfect gift, create every delicious morsel; in our quest for praise for our prescience, our mind-reading abilities, and our endless pursuit of what is “just right,” we arrive at year's end exhausted. We enjoy neither the mystical birth, the season of light, nor the archetypal closing out of the year, because our back and feet hurt from all that heavy huffing.

In my family, this was the season for shaking the nut tree. Mother baked thousands of fruitcake cookies, about a million apricot nectar cakes, and at least, twenty pounds of fudge. She procured an expensive, live, “fat” tree and decorated it so heavily you couldn't see the tree anymore—and those darn, stringy icicles ended up on the floor, on your clothes, in your bed, stuck to the bottoms of your shoes. There were so many presents they filled up the space under the tree and reached out like bright monsters to trip you at every turn. She bought gallons of eggnog, which, quite honestly, no one on earth should drink unless they're actively suicidal. It was the one time of year that she could consume forty pounds of sugar in a two week period and not feel guilty about it. Daddy just got drunk, and stayed drunk. Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!

Don't do that to yourself. Make this your mantra: “Keep it simple!” Every time you feel yourself veering into the fast lane, pull back and remind yourself that this is the year of your independence. You're not a mindless sheep of the market-driven herd! Declare your personal rebellion! Free yourself from conventions, blaze your own trail through the tall weeds of commercialism! This is the year for busting-up the establishment, breaking every tradition, seizing the helm of your own ship! Join the revolution, and free yourself from the tyranny of family expectations! And then...just go turn on the oven, and dress the turkey.

No kidding, though. Keep it simple. Enjoy the view on the way up. It'll make your descent a whole lot easier. On January 2, nobody will remember what you nearly killed yourself doing, anyway.

                                                                In the Spirit,


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