Not sure where you are heading? That’s OK…me neither

Is it just me, or does it sometimes feel like there is a lot of pressure to know what you want and where you are going in life?

Sometimes this idea really eats away at me. As much as I love planning, I don’t have a 5year plan. I don’t exactly know what my passion is and I don’t have big huge dreams for something. Unlike my husband who know exactly what he loves (cars, cars and more cars), but I don’t have that one thing that drives me forward.

And every now and again, I get a bit panicky about that. Does that mean I’m not trying hard enough? And one day I will look back and really regret something that I wish I did? Or maybe I have some secret unlocked passion that I just need to figure out and…oh my god…how do I know whether I am making the right decisions about my career and my life…and EVERYTHING…if I don’t know precisely exactly where I am going?

But, it’s Ok, because now, every time I feel bit like this. I remember the one piece of advice from from Elizabeth Gilberts, Big Magic, that has really stuck in my head and has helped me navigate the tricky waters when I panic about finding my thing.

The concept of thinking of your passions more like following a treasure hunt. So all you have to do, is start following the clues. Is there something you enjoy doing? Explore that for a while, see where it takes you. Read about it, talk to people about it. Do those discussions lead to another idea or topic? follow that too…see where it takes you. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know where you are going (where’s the fun if you already know where to go?) And maybe some of your trials will lead to dead ends. But that’s OK, just keep looking for more new clues to follow.

I am sure I have described that really badly (I love the way she describes it here), but I love this concept.

I’ve been feeling a little stuck with career decision recently, starting to worry about the long term – before I wound myself back in and just thought…what is something small I could do today, to ignite my curiosity and learn something new that is career related, and see where that takes me?

So I approached someone I don’t know about having a coffee catchup, which I know is unlikely to lead to a life long friendship or even an amazing career opportunity, but I do know it is another step in my journey, another clue to unfold in my much bigger picture.

Which also reminds me of one of my favourite quotes from Steve Jobs,

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever..”

Perhaps we put too much pressure on ourselves to start connecting our dots too early. Instead we just need to focus on looking for dots.

Where is your treasure hunt taking you?

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Got something you need to talk about?

 

Talking about it helps…. I know, not exactly a new concept…we all know this is the case.  And anyone who knows me would most likely tell you that I have ZERO trouble with this concept,  I talk hard and fast.  I am,  generally speaking, a sharer.  When I am down, the first thing I want to do is talk to someone…or at least, that’s what the perception is.

The reality is, when I am feeling really down, sometimes it takes me a while to share my thinking. I worry that people are going to get sick of me “whinging”.  I fear that I might share something that I wish I hadn’t later.   I don’t want to be pitied, I want to appear strong and capable.  And sometimes, I don’t talk because I can’t figure out how to articulate what I want to say, my mind is just a whirlwind of feelings, ideas and thoughts and I can’t seem to harness what my point is.  So why share that???  Sometimes I am rushing around too much and failed to make the time for simple chatting,  then when I do…it comes pouring out like an avalanche (my mum is often subject to these types of outpourings)

But there is no doubt,  that when I finally find the time and space to sit down and have a good hearty chin wag with someone…I inevitably feel better.  Pretty much always

And writing can help sometimes too.   I’m not religious at all about writing a journal, I wish I was much better, especially because my memory is terrible and I don’t want to be old and can’t remember anything about my life.   Sometimes I write my journal like I’m expecting someone to read it,  jotting down memories and ideas.  Sometimes I write but hope that no one ever reads it.   But getting the rumbling thoughts out onto paper helps to put them in some kind of order and allows my brain to settle into them.

Either way.  Better out than in.

Things always seem so much more enormous when you are tackling them on your own, in the inner workings of your own mind.  Another perspective can make all the difference,  or just simply freeing your own thoughts from inside is enough to stop them ruminating and smothering you.

So…just a reminder (probably more to myself than to you)…don’t forget to create opportunities for cups of tea and real chats.

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Three words for 2017…

It’s nearly back at work time for me.  I’m both disappointed that the holidays are coming to an end, and somewhat excited to see what the new year might hold.

This morning,   I saw this post from Suze Muse and it got me thinking about what my three words for 2017 (yes…I am totally procrastinating from getting back to real work… just roll with me here)…here’s what I think they might be.

Adventure – 2017 feels like a year to “lean in” for me (unfortunately that phrase seems to have lots of connotations, so I like the idea of adventure instead).  This year I want to try new things, take some risks, throw myself in head first.  What will that mean?  I don’t have any idea just yet.  Does the idea both excite and freak me out? totally! there is still a huge part of me that loves the coziness of my comfort zone.  I think I am happy there…but am I?

Curiosity – I’ve learnt that approaching life with an overarching sense of curiosity can help you feel calm amongst the chaos,  to manage the things that life inevitably throws at you as simply an opportunity to learn and think.   Curious about what parenting strategies are working and which ones are clearly not (yep…I’m not failing, I’m just experimenting).  Curious about why I might feel anxious or frustrated some days.  Curious about the people around me,  the world around me.  Curious to learn and discover more about people and culture that might help me with my work.

Consistency – I could be really boring and have something about exercising more and eating less…or about finally adding meditation of some description in to my daily routine.  Generally speaking though, this ends up creating a peak and trough kind of situation where I’m really “good” for a period of time and then fall off the wagon and I am “bad ” for a while.  Where I really want to get to and what really works,  is starting to be consistent about the things and habits I really want to change.    Movement, relaxation/mediation, writing, eating nourishing foods, reading with the kids… all these things are habits I want to build into my regular routines. It doesn’t need to be hours, it doesn’t need to be all out…I just need to keep turning up….consistently….after all, they say it is what you do most of the time that counts, not what you do sometimes.

What are the three words that will define your 2017?

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Getting back on the horse…the writing horse…

It’s been a while since I have written in this blog.  I was so proud of myself for upholding my weekly manifesto, for over two years with only a few delays.

Yet…here I am… with months going passed and only a few words published.

I like to blame work.  Of course it is their fault.  I’m back working full time and there just are not enough hours in the day.

Which is semi-true.  Sure. I feel like I have less hours.  But there are also plenty of days when I have the whole evening free but I decide to lounge in front of the TV instead of getting out my writing.  Or the weekends that pass by with plenty of free moments, but I choose to cram them with chores or a sneaky read of my book.   My brain is so fried I don’t have anything left to give.

But I know there is more to it than time…because I know that I’ve stopped writing because I’ve started to overthink it.

I have started to worry that I have nothing more of value to say.  That I’m not funny any more (because seriously, I was being SOOOOO hilarious before, my writing was amazeballs).   I feel like I have nothing new to share, there are no more stories to tell.  That you…the reader…are getting bored with me and my rantings.  I am scared what the people from my work will think.  Whether this will change their opinion of me.

I have…infact…written a few blog posts over the last months but none of them have made it out the starting gate.

Is this perfectionism creeping back into my world?    Hell…I know I’m not perfect… but that desire to wait until the flash of inspiration and the thunderbolt of amazing words come tumbling easily onto the page… is stopping me getting even a single word onto the page.

I have to remind myself that I started writing this blog, just as a practice for myself.  And I know, deep down inside…somewhere real deep… that I just have to get back on the horse.  I have listened to so many writers who say that sometimes it is a real struggle for them to write, even though they love it,  they have to force themselves to do it.

I have to get back to writing each week as a discipline, regardless if I “feel like it” or not.  And some weeks,  it might not be great, there might be some crappy stories or average words.  But amongst all of that maybe…just maybe…one person will read my musings and think “yeah, I feel like that sometimes too”.  And if I can make that one person feel better about themselves because they know that there are other crazy random fools just like them out in the world… then that day will be a great day.

So…peeps…it is time to get back on the horse.   If, for no other reason than to practice my writing.  And get random things off my chest.   And if it is not great…well…I’m sorry in advance… but hopefully it’ll inspire you anyway,  to get back doing something that you love…even if you feel like sometimes you are pretty average at it.

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In over my head…

It’s Saturday night (at least I think it is), and I find myself sitting in a corner at Los Angeles airport with tears streaming down my cheeks.  My jeans are ripped and my clothes smell…and I’m hungry…in short, I’m feeling incredibly sorry for myself.

How did I get here?

Well, it all started a few weeks back when I get a phone call from my boss asking if I was available to go to a workshop in New York.  Hmm…let me think about this, check my diary… HELLL YES PLEASE, I want to go!   Getting to New York has been a not so secret dream of mine for some time now.  It’s on the vision board for goodness sake…I was beginning to wonder when it would finally manifest itself after several close encounters over the last year that fizzled and died.

I don’t know why New York had suddenly become so important in my world but there was something about the opportunity to not only connect and work with some of the most respected people in my discipline, but to do so in such an iconic city (where, last time I visited was when I backpacked with my husband and we stayed at a hostel… which I figured out was 18years ago…ouch).

Of course, the timing wasn’t great.  I would need to fly out on the weekend, directly after my Sister arrived from overseas to visit our family.  Plus, my husband also had some work travel scheduled.  But after some creative juggling and yet again help from the parents (thank you!)…I was on my way.

New York was exactly as I imagined it might be.  I didn’t feel jetlag because I think I was flying on adrenalin for at least the first four days.   I felt like I belonged.  I felt like I had found “my people” at work and I spent joyously long days rabbiting about the things that confound me at work and getting their opinions on everything that we do.   I was amazed at the differences and the significant similarities between issues from country to country.  I even made time for some sightseeing and wander down the streets of New York pretending I was indeed, part of Sex in the City.

And then it was time to come home.  A tropical summer storm (in New York…yes…really) saw my plane to Dallas delayed and that is when things started going horribly wrong.   Suddenly I was waiting in a long queue for customer service in the airport, after I missed my connecting flight to Australia.   Around me, airport shops were shutting and they were rolling out rows of stretches with blankets in the corridors.   The service assistant (after 1 1/2hrs in the queue and well after midnight), tells me that there no more flights back to Australia until the next night, and I would have to fly to LA to get them.   She offered up a stretcher for me to have some rest.

As I sat contemplating my fate on the stretcher, it suddenly occurred to me that perhaps work did not expect for me to sleep on the floor at the airport and I promptly found myself a hotel.  After a decent sleep at the hotel,  I was feeling a little more positive.  I could do this.  I had called my husband to tell him I was delayed by 24hrs,  which turned out to be rather a major problem because he had to fly out for another job himself, but he organised to ship the children to my sister in-law (thank you!) and we were back on track.

I decide that perhaps I should do some Yoga stretches in my hotel room, to help calm myself for the rest of my journey and after a few lovely vinyasa’s, I hear and feel a big rip as the inside thigh of my jeans rips across my leg.   Of course, I had no bags, as my bags were being held hostage at the airport…so I had no choice but to continue on as if nothing had happened and complete my trip with ripped trousers.  After all, surely I would be able to find something at the airport to buy (turns out not…actually).

After being on standby for several hours,  I somehow snatch a last minute pass onto a plane and I am finally on my way to LA.  And after some serious navigation issues,  also manage to find my way to the right gate at the international airport.   When I sit down with a thump and look up to the screen and realise with a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach… that my plane was….DELAYED.

This time, I broke.   Oh my goodness, it felt like I was never going to get home.  I had been wearing the same clothes for days, literally. My pants were ripped.  I was oh so tired.  I missed home.  I missed the kids.

What the hell was I thinking when I agreed to go overseas?  Why did I not realise that it would be too much.  That it would be the straw that broke the camels back.  The juggling work and home is so hard at the best of times.  Now this was just a cruel way for the universe to tell me that I was pushing my luck.  That I didn’t need to do this.  I could have been safe and comfortable at home, all this time. It isn’t worth it.

I finally boarded the plane and started to relax as I realised that I would…eventually…make it home.  And I was reading through some of the notes I had made on the trip and I found this quote.

“Get in over your head as often and as joyfully as possible” – Alexander Isley

It was written on the wall of one of our offices, and I had written it down because I think we have become very negative about trying to “have it all” that perhaps we’ve swung the pendulum the other way and now everyone is stressed that they are trying to do too much.

So it made me think.  Even though the end of my trip was a little bit of disaster(ok..a lot of a disaster)… wasn’t it worth it for all the experiences that I had?  We forget that maybe sometimes,  throwing yourself into life…ALL IN… can at least make life interesting.

And I’ve learnt something new…next time… take an extra pair of trousers in your check in baggage.   I have never been so happy as I when I saw my bag slide onto the baggage carousel at the other end, at least the airline got that bit right.

When was the last time that you got yourself in over your head?

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Stealth expectations…

Love love love the idea of “stealth expectations”…. yes oh yes… THIS is my problem.

OK…so I was reading Rising Strong by Brene Brown last night,  and got to this section where she was saying that when our expectations don’t match our reality it can be really frustrating.   But it can be especially disappointing, if you never realised you had the expectations in the first place…that would be….STEALTH EXPECTATIONS…

Oh those sneaky expectations,  I imagine them now like ninja warriors, waiting around corners to jump out and surprise me with massive disappointments.

Brene even used an example which hit right at my hot buttons.  She talked about how her and her husband used to argue when they were both home at the weekends,  because they actually somehow found it easier when they had to do things on their own.  It was only after much debate on the subject, they realised that this was because when they were juggling the weekend and kids on their own,  they automatically lowered their expectations of what could be done.  But when they are both home together, they automatically increased their expectations on what could be achieved (to levels that actually couldn’t be achieved)…so then got frustrated with each other when they couldn’t get it all achieved.  But the sneaky part is…they never even realised they had those expectations initially….that’s how super stealth they were…

Oh my goodness… I have had that EXACT conversation with my husband.  I was very upset when he came home from a long trip (you can read about it here)…and it wasn’t until later that I realised that it was because I had expectations that things would be easier when he got back, and when they weren’t,  it made me really frustrated.  Stealth expectations.

Now I am more aware of the spy like skills of my expectations, I have started to look for them everywhere.  To seek them out and give them a good shake.  Because they don’t help me when it comes to just accepting what is happening, they just make me wish things were different …not meeting this imaginary expectation I never even knew I had.

So watch out,  they could be out to get you too…make sure you look behind the shower curtain before you get in…

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Dinner time hell…

IMG_1490I have always been very diligent and disciplined about having a dinner time routine in our house.   We rarely eat in front of the TV,  and always try to sit down as a family around the dinner table of an evening.

Lovely.  Right?   NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Why o why is dinner time such a NIGHTMARE at our house!!!  Seriously,  instead of being the lovely family time where we catch up on our days,  I’m lucky not to walk out of it without having totally lost my cool and turned into Psycho Mumma.

I had a thing we used to do,  where each person had to say three things that were good from their day,  or three things they were grateful for.  We did this even when the kids were younger,  and it was golden (I know,  I’m good hey!?)

Where have those days gone?

Here is a more typical dinnertime …

It starts with me asking the kids to turn off the TV,  which will be followed by at least 5mins of complaining, possible some stomping around or perhaps, the more likely outcome,  completely ignoring me like I don’t exist.  To which I have to then repeatedly ask before I explode with “TURN IT OF NOWWWWWWWWWW” and march over to switch it off myself.

The children will then complain about what I have cooked.  It doesn’t matter if it is their favourite,  I will have cooked it wrong or the green things might be touching it.  So I’ve given up cooking them stuff they will like, and I just cook them things they won’t like, so at least the whinging is justified (HA!).

My husband will then try to tell me some long winded story from his work but he won’t get two words out before being interrupted by one of the children (not that that will stop him, he will continue to persist with the story).  Most likely the children will be complaining about the other ones behaviour or asking about some random fact, like does it really take 5 days to fly to the moon (I know that is not true, at least I think it is not, useless trivia facts are definitely not my forte)  They then sing, yell, burp, fart or just generally make high pitch ear piercing noises for no reason whatsoever…

My husband will finally give up on his story and we will try to focus on the children instead.  How was your day?  tell me some good things about your day?   To which they will launch into a story, that has nothing to do with their day,  but usually some kind of whinge about the future..like whether they can watch TV after dinner (no you can’t…just like EVERY OTHER NIGHT)..whilst constantly being “talked over” by the other child.  Then getting cross.

This whole scenario has also been sugared with my husband and I inserting a long series of table manner reminders.   “Please use your knife and fork”,  “don’t rock on your chair”,  “eat with your mouth closed”,  “elbows off the table”,  “seriously….you need to use a knife and fork to eat mashed potato”…”NO…don’t wipe your hands all over your top”…etc etc.    All of which are pretty much ignored.

Once they have eaten two mouthfuls,   they start asking what is for Dessert.   Usually,  there isn’t any, except on weekend/special occasions.  But this does not fail to surprise and dishearten the children every single evening…another great opportunity to whinge.

We leave the table 15min after we started (that’s if the children haven’t already been sent to their rooms half way through dinner because we failed to keep the chaos under some kind of control) and I want to lie on the floor and sleep…but instead, I’m packing the dishwasher (it was the children’s job but I have lost the will to argue with them about it).

So…to all you wise family people who tell me that dinner time is one of the most important times of the day…YOU SUCK.   I’m sorry, but dinner time is hell. After a long day, it makes me want to cry.

As such…I have decided to drop my quest for elusive achievement of dinner time bliss.  I’m not saying that we won’t sit and eat at the table…but I’m going to give up on this being a quality time of our day.  It is a practical and required part of the day,  a teaching moment perhaps, but it is not quality time.  Maybe in the future it will be, I can’t imagine that…but sure…I’m open to miracles.

Instead,  I’m going to use reading time,  when the day is done and we are lying quietly in bed together…to have some quality time with the kids.   And when I have left them all snuggled up in bed,  then I can listen to my husband telling me about the stories from his day (and maybe insert something in about my own day if he stops long enough..because, lets not forget that I have also been at work all day)…. as long we are all finished before My Kitchen Rules starts,  because all I really want to do is sit infront of mindless TV with a cup of tea…and be grateful that I have made it through another day.

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Yep…I totally need a wife…

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I think it is fair to say,  I thought I had been nailing it recently…until…well… I wasn’t.   All of a sudden, a torrent of pent up exhaustion and resentment came pouring out of me like a cannonball  which was directed at my husband (Shout out to my husband…love ya!…).

What was his crime,  you ask?   Well…he left me on my own (he had to travel for work) and I had to juggle it all on my own (not unusual),  and I was secretly high fiving myself for getting through the week (yep…nailed it, can I get some applause please?) but then when he returned I was hoping it would all magically get easier.   And it didn’t.   So…clearly,  that was his fault.

Now, I’ll admit.  Quite possibly it was not all his fault.   And,  I do acknowledge that there has been some effort on his behalf to step up his game and get crap done when he IS home…

But what I really need….Is a wife.

I think I’ve talked about this before because Annabel Crabb wrote a great book called “The Wife Drought” …why women need wives and men need a life.

And it is so true.

It would be so much easier if there was someone at home I could just pick up the phone and call to say “sorry dear, going to be a tad late today”.  And I wouldn’t even have to add “can you pick up the kids” because they would already be doing it.   I wouldn’t have to think about the chores that need doing, and co-coordinating school notes and uniforms.

I resent the fact that my husband still has a little bit of this.  I AM the wife.  Which means I get the phone call saying “I have to work late today”  or “next week, I’ll be away all week”…and then I’ll be left juggling schedules trying to make it all work.

I had dinner at a friends house after work this week and it was blissful.  I finished work at 6pm,  drove over and was greeted with a ready poured glass of wine.  I then sat at the table chatting while she busied herself cooking in the kitchen, setting the table and helping the kids with their homework.   Then my meal was placed in front of me.  I ate.  And then someone else cleaned it all up.  Ok…so I probably should have helped a bit more but oh my goodness is was blissful to just have all that taken care of for me.

So…how do I get myself some of that?  Does my husband have to change his work, so he can help more?

The thing is though…I don’t actually want my husband to change…to be my wife.  I am very proud of him and the work that he does.  I don’t want him to stop working and look after the house & kids.  I think that would just annoy me even more.  I want us both to follow our dreams and raise a family together, all at the same time.   And what he really needs,  is more time to spend on his “life”, because right now all his time is spent working (and dealing with his crazy wife…but, you know, she is also kinda awesome).

So I guess we have to just keep navigating our way through this partnership.  To divide and conquer the things that need to get done.  To accept that maybe sometimes,  it is just going to be hard…but that doesn’t mean it is wrong or bad.

And,  I probably will find myself on the couch again,  crying into the pillow.  But then we’ll make some changes,  pick ourselves up, dust off…and keep making this work,  because in the end…it is totally worth it.

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Be who you are…

darequoteIt is so much harder than you think to always be your authentic self.  Until I started thinking about it fairly recently,  I hadn’t noticed how many times I stop myself saying something…or say something different to what I am actually thinking because I feel like that is what I “should” be saying.

It’s been bubbling a lot to the surface recently.  New job, new responsibilities.  I find myself thinking that “I will be different”.  I’m going to knock their socks off with my calm and insightful presence.  I won’t be the first one to make comments in the meeting, I will sit quietly and ponder my responses carefully.  I will not get too emotionally involved in my work.

But the thing is,  as much as I would LOVE to execute these things…the reality is, the more I try to be and act like someone I’m not,  the more mistakes and frustrations I have.

So that begs the question?  Why do I do it?  Why do we all do it?

I think part of it is wanting to be perfect.  Often cleverly disguised as a need to be the “best I can be”…it really is perfectionism sneaking in.  I want to file away the rough edges.

I guess the other part is fear.  What if being the person that I am, doesn’t get me what I want?  What if people don’t respect me for being…well…me?

But when I think about the times I have achieved the most, it is when I am being my authentic self.  When I am confidently cracking jokes and using my passion to ignite the fire in everyone around me.   So when I try to distinguish the flame on the “bad” parts, I end up distinguishing the flame on the things that make me awesome too.

So…sure….snorting/laughing/honking in my business meeting (yes…that really happened…sigh),  may not have won me any favours and telling my story on this blog might expose even more of my flaws to people…but maybe,  just maybe,  they’ll see some of the awesome things I also do and they won’t mind about my rough edges.

Do you dare to just be yourself?

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Sometimes you just have to laugh…

Saw these pjyama's at Kmart and couldn't resist!
Saw these pjyama’s at Kmart and couldn’t resist!

You know those moments when everything seems to be going a little (ok a lot) pear shaped,  and you find yourself doing this kinda crazy half laughing thing because you think if I don’t laugh right now I’m going to fall into a heap and never get up again?   Yeah?  I have those moments quite a lot…

And I was thinking about this the other day and realised that humour can be a really important coping mechanism.    I think the key is being able to look at yourself from an external perspective (sometimes I imagine that I’m in some sort of dodgy sitcom on TV),  and take some of the personal emotion out of what is happening.   Because most of the time, what is happening is not actually that bad and would make a pretty funny scene in a movie…

OK..so here’s an example that got me thinking about this.   It was morning time in our household and I was super excited that the husband was home to help because he is normally long gone before morning chaos hits.  I’m running around like a nut bag,  trying to get myself ready for work whilst simultaneously making kids lunches,  packing bags,  getting kids dressed and all the typical morning stuff…you know the drill.   Anyway,  at some point my husband yells “shall I get the kids breakfast?” and I say “yes”  and I think ….great…he’s getting the breakfast sorted.  So I jump in the shower , finally get myself ready in record speed,  gather up the children and just as we are about to walk out the door my son says “but I haven’t eaten anything?” .  What?  how has this happened?   I look at my husband, who looks accusingly at me.  “Err…you said you were getting them breakfast?”, I say.   “No??”  he says “I asked you, if you had already given them breakfast and you said “Yes”. Ahhh… right.

Lets face it,  it was actually a pretty funny moment.   Us standing in the doorway,  looking at each other as it dawns on us that we both thought the other person had done it and no one has given the kids anything to eat.   But did we laugh?  No…no…we did not.

I got cross.   I believe “ARE YOU KIDDING ME!” was yelled at some great decible.   I stomped into the house and started opening and slamming cupboards trying to find a suitable food item that could be consumed whilst walking to school.    I stared my husband down with my best evil glare,  hoping he might feel the burning rath of my fury and remember never to cross my path in such a failing way in the future.   I got cross with the kids for not reminding us that they hadn’t eaten…I mean, seriously…who forgets to eat?  it’s not like they don’t do it EVERY morning.  Take some responsibility people!!!   Needless to say, the kids got upset and everyone left for the day in a bad mood.

Wouldn’t it have been better,  to take a big sigh and then, maybe,  laugh about our misunderstanding?  Quickly run into the house and make a joke about the lame breakfast they were having and everyone would have gone on with their day in a much better mood??  Oh…if only….

Luckily…later in the week, I had another chance to handle things a bit better… we were on an adventure to go chop down a real Christmas tree.  It seemed like the perfect family outing, and everyone is a little bit excited.   We jump out of the car to choose our tree,  and things start going wrong.   The kids split up and decide that different trees are perfect.  I wander around aimlessly trying to find the tree with the perfect shape.  And my husband just wants to chop down the one nearest to the car and get the job done.   Finally we choose a tree (my selection of course), and my daughter cries all the way home because we didn’t choose her one, while my son yells at her to just shut up.

We get home to put the tree up and my son immediately says “can I just go play computer games?” before we have even managed to push the tree through the door.   As we battle to get the tree into the stand,  it becomes clear that the tree WE have chosen actually has an incredibly wonky trunk which means every time we stand it up, it falls over.   My husband starts cursing, and we start debating about whose fault it was that the tree was falling over (clearly his because he cut it down,  although he thought it was mine because I chose it …I guess that bit is true…and because I was “holding it funny” when we put the stand in..sooo wasn’t).   We decide to cut down the trunk some more, so next thing we know, the tree is shoved half in and half out of the house through the balcony door, so my husband can saw off the end of the end of the trunk (but he’s having a bit of trouble). He is getting REALLY cranky.  There is swearing involved.  I’m inside the house trying to hold the tree still.  Pine needles are going all over the floor (what the hell is he doing???) and I can feel my blood starting to boil….this was not turning out to be the lovely family day I had imagined.

Then I stop.  I take a look around.  I see my daughter standing there with three of our ugliest baubles patiently waiting for the tree to be upright so she can put them on, my son completely oblivious to what is going on staring at a screen in the corner,  my husband trapped in the corner of the balcony having a battle royale with a Christmas Tree, me with pine needles stuck up my nose and a rash starting to appear on my arms from holding the tree…and I think…you’ve got to laugh.  This is pretty funny.  I mean, seriously,  this could totally be a scene from a Chevy Chase movie ( those movies were a family staple in our household).   My blood pressure drops and I manage to stay calm enough to keep my husband from jumping off the balcony in frustration.    Finally the end of the trunk was cut and we somehow manage to get the tree standing with a the help of a brick on one side of the stand.   My husband went and had a strong coffee,  while my daughter and I put on the Christmas music and decorated the tree.  And when we were finished,  there were smiles all around.  Our first Real family Christmas tree.   We DID IT!

It’s easy to take life way too seriously sometimes.   And it is REALLY hard to catch yourself in the moment and stop the rage from appearing.   But, sometimes…well, really…what else can you do but laugh?

Hope you are having lots of holiday fun at your houses too and just remember ‘life is better when you are laughing”.

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