From giant Thanksgiving meals to champagne at midnight on the last day of the year and a whole bunch of frantic in between… ’tis the season. And if it’s true that time moves faster as we age? It really speeds up in November and December, doesn’t it? From the Christmas displays that arrive before Halloween to the year-end reviews that now start before Christmas, time can feel like the pushing and shoving that comes about as a result of holiday airline travel. I don’t know about you but sometimes (in either circumstance) I want to yell, “Everybody lighten up… we’re all going to get there at the same time!”
A remarkable thing has happened to many of my family members and friends: we’ve chosen to opt out.
But wait — before you picture us sitting in cold rooms with the lights off in some sort of depressed silence? That’s not what’s going on at all. We opt out of the “official” calendar and celebrate volition. (And grown-up birthdays that end in “0” or “5.”)
That’s right… we make choices. Well in advance of the holidays, we put our heads together and talk about things like schedules, budgets, energy, and preferences. And then we make choices. We spend some money… and lots of time.
It turns out that we were able to celebrate one of those big birthdays several weeks in advance — by getting almost all of the family together for Thanksgiving. And missing one made the rest of us look forward to our international arrival in a few more days.
So, if we’re not running around shopping until we drop, what do we do? We spend a lot of time cruising neighborhoods to look at amazing light displays. We meet up at the zoo. Or the movies. Or the beach. We play board games and write love letters. We take turns cooking, share leftovers, and swap talents to move each others’ projects forward. We tell stories.
Mostly we laugh a lot and enjoy our time together. It’s the best of what happens when we opt out.