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Sage advice to ensure we get the most out of this holiday season.

“It’s not only the scenery you miss by going fast. You also miss the sense of where you are going and why.” -E. Cantor

Have you ever had a hangover?

Stayed out a little too late. Had one too many drinks. Come on, we’ve all been there!

But the kind of hangover I’m referring to isn’t the kind that a glass of water and a few Tylenol can cure. No, I’m referring to the holiday hangover.

Several years ago, a Live Inspired Community member named Helen asked me on January 5 how she could get over the holiday hangover she was suffering from.

All the build-up and excitement had passed, time had been spent away from work, family had gathered, gifts exchanged. All the preparation, cooking, eating, opening of presents, racing to parties, watching the clock strike midnight, and flipping the calendar had left her in debt, tired and a little down.

And now she had to head back to work, to school, to real life. Helen wanted to know how we cure this kind of hangover.

Rather than wait until after the hangover sets in this year, I thought I’d share some sage advice now from a woman with nine and a half decades of experience to help prevent it from starting in the first place.

At our family Christmas Eve celebration several years ago, my parents hosted their six children and spouses, 17 grandchildren, a few friends, and my then 94-year-old grandmother, Caddy. She’s an amazing woman and right before dinner I had a wonderful 15-minute conversation just with her.

Grandma’s short-term memory was beginning to fade, but her zest for life and natural beauty remained perfectly intact. During our conversation I asked about her childhood, how she met my grandpa, what it was like during World War II when he was in the Pacific, raising kids during the 50s, and a few of her favorite memories.

I then asked what advice she’d give me as I continued along this path in life.

She looked me in the eyes, patted my right leg, and responded thoughtfully, “Seems like today everyone is so busy racing. All that racing means they’re busy doing things, but also more likely to miss the gifts that are in front of them right now.”

After 94 of years of living life, raising kids, losing friends, enduring recessions and wars, learning through mistakes and savoring the good stuff, my grandma realized that the very success many sprint toward professionally, relationally, in parenting is elusive because we don’t slow down enough to notice gifts that are already ours to celebrate.

So, my friend, as we step into another busy holiday season, I encourage you to embrace this sage advice from Grandma Caddy.

As we clean up from Thanksgiving and prepare for the Christmas season, rather than making a list of all the things you have to get done, places you need to go, presents you feel obliged to buy, parties you must attend, instead consider making different lists.

Make a list of what truly matters most this holiday season. Then make a second list of all the things you’re going to not do to ensure you focus on what matters most.

A beautiful lady once shared with me that everyone is so busy racing and busy doing things, but all that racing means we are more likely to miss the gifts that in front of us right now.

Let’s choose to be less frantic this season. Because the best way to avoid a hangover is to not participate in activities certain to give you one.

Today is your day. Live Inspired.

5 replies on “Preventing the Holiday Hangover”

What a perfect message . I am making my lists now: the first is how I want to feel through the season, the second is how I would like to make others feel, and the third is all the mind chatter I am going to avoid by focusing on the first two!

Thank you John. Always a must read on Monday morning. Thank you Grandma Caddy for your wise words. Relax and live inspired.

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