A Shift In Perspective: From Holiday Haze to Memorable Moments
by Engy Albasel Neville
The holiday season has always been my favorite time of year because for me, it’s synonymous with family, friends, cooking from scratch and enjoying much-needed downtime. Before mixing motherhood with a professional life, I used to spend the weeks leading up to the holidays contemplating my menu—looking through every recipe and cookbook before carefully selecting the winning dishes. Yet, over the years this has changed. Preparing and cooking for the holidays slowly was beginning to feel less joyful and more stressful, which in turn ignited a wave of guilt for not relishing in something I once savored.
This year, I was taken aback by my own crappy attitude towards the cherished holiday season.
As I sat reflecting on the year and honestly trying to figure out the source of my less than festive attitude, it dawned on me…
I had fallen prey to the mentality
of squeezing it all in.
The holidays had turned into an item among a long checklist of other things that needed to be done. Somehow, I had effectively made the season into a task with a box next to it—ready to check once complete. I had sucked the joy right out of my holidays and robbed myself of all the little things that I usually looked forward to (such as browsing through my holiday recipes).
In my defense, I truly wanted to create the best and most memorable holiday season for my family. What happened instead was that somehow this intent spiraled into overcommitting, overthinking and scrambling through my endless to-do list that truthfully, shouldn’t have become a priority. If I’ve learned anything in the past few years, it is that time is fleeting and precious and the future isn’t necessarily promised to anyone. Through ongoing reflection, I began to realized that I had veered off course in what mattered. I needed to reel myself in and better appreciate the blessings in my life with the ones I loved.
Ultimately, because I recognized and embraced my shortcomings, I found I was able to alter my perspective and eventually enjoy the holiday season with family and friends. I managed to finally let go. (And, to let go without guilt!)
However, even with my newfound knowledge, I still wasn’t fully satisfied just yet. To move on, I needed to understand the source of my obsession with “ticking the box.” So I dug deeper and something wonderful happened… I experienced an aha moment.
I realized that many of us (myself included!) have become a part of a culture that:
- Prides itself on moving a million miles a minute
- Paints a perfect picture of our lives (even if it’s only true on social media)
- Says yes to everything (incase we might miss out)
Likewise, this culture offers us no favors in life. The truth is, long before glossy magazines with picture perfect table settings and multiple cooking channels geared towards perfecting a holiday menu, the holiday season of our childhoods were just as memorable and enjoyable, arguably more so, than today.
From stress free fun gatherings to delicious family recipes passed down for generations, the memories I have of my childhood holidays are everything I dreamed of and more. And as I think about the memories I will continue to make for my family, that’s exactly what I want my own kids to remember … family, an abundance of love and fun.
The recognition of these priorities, finally fully lifted the holiday haze surrounding me, and my shift in perspective became the most precious a gift I could have given to myself.
Leave a Comment: How do you and your family manage your holiday schedule? Do you ever find yourself caught up in ticking items off your todo list and forgetting to enjoy the precious moments with your family?
Engy Albasel Neville lives with her husband and two active toddlers on Long Island, New York. She’s currently a full time writer working on her second novel, Loved In Time. Prior to embarking on a writing career, Engy was a brand consultant professional managing brand initiatives for fortune 500 companies. Engy is the author of A Leap In Time, a time travel romance and Amazon best seller. Her novellas, Fool’s Luck and A Wind In Her Sails, originally part of previous anthologies, is currently available on Amazon. In addition to writing, Engy enjoys yoga, cooking, gardening, and traveling. Connect further with her on facebook, twitter, instagram (via Engy_Neville) or via her own website and blog.