Whilst Christmas 2020 may be a different affair to most as a result of Covid-19, it got me thinking about how we often celebrate in a way that isn’t always how we’d choose to, if it was only us in the decision making.
Adverts & sitcoms show us families & friends rejoicing together, seemingly happy & jolly. Is that a true representation though? I loved it when I was younger when we’d play cards & board games, if I look a little closer though I can remember how we had to cajole my brother into joining in (he’d have rather been watching TV in his room), that my Stepdad drank more than was advisable & my Mum was on clear up duty & probably found the day more work than play on balance.
Life is too short to allow the device in your pocket to bring you down
When we moved house to a new area I remember going to local parties with 40 or so other people, if I’m honest I didn’t really enjoy being there, but I felt a pressure to be with other people because ‘it’s good to be sociable at Christmas’.
Over time I’ve become less sociable and far from feeling isolated it actually feels really good. Don’t get me wrong, I have very strong friendships, some dating back over 30 years, the fact is though that I’m now in a place in myself that unless I’m spending time with people who I genuinely want to spend time with, then I’d rather be at home with my husband & our dogs & cats!
As we head into the Christmas period, social media will undoubtedly be full of photos of people doing festive things together. These images can make some people feel inadequate & feel that their life is somehow lacking. It’s been said plenty of times before that social media is a highlights reel, & a curated one at that. That’s true of course & whilst this might not always be the case, some people will be posting to give an impression of their life, whether it’s factual or not.
Firstly I would advise if you’re following anyone on social media & their content makes you feel anything other than good (happy, inspired, motivated or informed) then stop following them! Seriously. Life is too short to allow a device in your pocket to bring you down – only follow people & accounts that make you feel good!
If you’re following anyone on social media & their content makes you feel anything other than good then stop following them! Seriously.
Secondly we can never know what goes on behind someone’s grid or feed, but I’d be willing to bet that plenty of people post to give the impression of something that may not be exactly true, as a way to present something to the world that doesn’t reflect how they’re really feeling.
When I was 30 I was single & I lived on my own, I loved living on my own (sorry husband) but that is another story. On New Years Eve I was due to go to a friend’s party, on the 30th December I’d gone to a different friend’s 30th birthday party & it had been somewhat of a big do – a very late night & far too much alcohol.
During New Years Eve day I was feeling more than a little weary & I ummed & aahed about going to the party that evening. It was an hour’s drive away & honestly I wanted to get into my PJs & curl up on the sofa with my cats! I rang the friend who was having the party & basically explained that due to a big night the night before I was going to give it a miss & could I come down the following day for lunch instead. She didn’t mind that I was bailing on the party but she was horrified that I was contemplating spending New Years Eve at home alone.
I should say at this point that we’ve been friends for a looooooongg time & we’re very different people. By her own admission this friend much prefers to be surrounded by people & doesn’t like her own company for long. I on the other hand am very happy in my own company & crave solitude far more than she does. We’re different & that’s OK, there’s no right or wrong.
I assured her that I was actually looking forward to a night in & that I’d see her the following day. At this time in my life Christmas was a busy time, work Xmas parties, Xmas catch ups with friends; cozy nights in were few & far between. I had a lovely hot bath, got into my PJs, snuggled on the sofa with some comfort food & the cats – what a cliché! I no doubt watched something cheesy on the tv & I recall that I went to bed at about 9pm, probably for the first time on New Years Eve since I was 6! The early night made up slightly for the 4am bedtime of the night before.
The following day I went to my friend’s for lunch & we had a lovely catch up. I felt bright eyed & cheery, which was very novel for New Year’s Day! She was still aghast that I’d had such a quiet New Year’s Eve, but honestly for me it was liberating. I’d done more than my fair share of partying that year & in the years before that too. It felt freeing not to feel obliged to go out when I really didn’t feel like it.
It felt freeing not to feel obliged to go out when I really didn’t feel like it.
I don’t know if it’s a coincidence but 3 months later I met a guy who is now my husband. I have often wondered if that New Year’s Eve was the point that I learnt that it’s not necessary to bow to social pressure to do anything other than what pleased me in that moment. Perhaps because I was finally being authentically me that I was ready to meet someone who would become a lovely permanent fixture in my life.
If you’re worried that maybe your festive plans aren’t as fancy as someone else’s, or your idea of a good time is different to what is deemed to be the norm, the only thing that really matters is whether it’s what you want to do.
What if we all worried less about what others thought & focused on what makes us happy? Instead of looking outward for acceptance we look inward & ask ourselves what we really want? Wouldn’t that be a good way to become happier & a peaceful way to end to this strangest of years?
If you’d like support in becoming authentically you then get in touch.
Do something today that your future self will thank you for.