Fun-day Monday

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Having the day off today was nice. The weekend was busy, but a nice kind of busy. I was able to escape from work more this weekend than I have in the last few months. I enjoyed getting time to totally focus on something besides work. A regular 2-day weekend just doesn’t seem like enough time off. A 3-day weekend is just slightly better. What I really needed was a full 2 weeks, but that is not always feasible.

The extra time this weekend allowed me to clear my mind to establish new norms in my thinking. Sometimes ‘getting away from it all’ is less about physically getting away and more about mentally getting away. Trying something new or unusual brings your mind to a place where it can focus. This weekend’s escapes included a hike at McDowell Mountain Park, a birthday party at the Phoenix Zoo, and lunch on the patio at Chelsea’s Kitchen. What I realized today, is that there is always more work for us to focus on, but not always more time to enjoy family. Maybe it is time to put focus and emphasis on things that do not always include work?

What did you do this weekend for your mental escape? Did you get to spend the time with your family?

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Holidays are Survival of the Fittest

Every year the holiday season brings about new challenges. Some years you find yourself alone and fighting loneliness while other years you are surrounded by family (and too much of it). While plenty of family around squashes any thoughts of loneliness, you can forget about peace and quiet.

As this holiday season comes to a close, I wonder what happened to the 2 weeks of vacation I thought I was going to get. Entertaining kids and family members was more exhausting than I thought. I also thought I would have more time to exercise, hike, go to the zoo, see the botanical gardens or simply take a walk around the neighborhood. Somehow between the Christmas shopping, the post-Christmas shopping, colds, and planning for New Year’s the time just got away from me. I definitely forgot about work for 2 weeks, however, I am not sure I am well-rested and ready to jump back into work tomorrow.

Since it is a new year, I would like to make a resolution to have a more relaxing holiday season next year. There is always next year I say! Considering that most people abandon their New Year’s resolutions by mid-February the chances of me remembering this resolution by next Thanksgiving is not likely. All I can do is be happy that the holidays are over and I can bet back to some normalcy. Strange how so much of the year we look forward to the holiday season and now I am glad they are over. I hope everyone else survived the holidays and is just excited as I am about returning to the daily routine. Happy 2013!

Tradition and Making Sense of the World

Everyone has traditions for how they spend their Saturday morning, how they cook their blueberry muffins, or how they spend their holidays. Traditions are patterns in life that help us make sense of the world. With so much chaos and unexplained tragedies, we need stability. We need something to rely on. Something to count on every day, every week, or every year.

I recall reading in a parenting book that children need structure. They need a pattern to their day. Aren’t traditions just patterns for how we spend our holidays? Putting up a Christmas tree, hanging stockings by the fireplace, opening a single gift on Christmas Eve, lighting 8 candles, or spinning a dreidel. There are holiday traditions for whatever your religion or non-religion. This time of year should be about recognizing that humans are all the same and we need traditions regardless of our beliefs in Jesus, God, or Buddha.

If you have ever seen the movie or play Fiddler on the Roof, then you may recall the song “Tradition” where everyone has their roles to play. Everyone follows the traditions because that is what they do. Grown-ups follow traditions but really aren’t they just patterns and structure built-in childhood? This holiday season I look forward to creating new traditions with my new family. What my family is may take another whole blog, so for now let’s stick to enjoying old traditions, creating new ones and hoping our children find safety in both this holiday season.