Permission to be Yourself: Granted

Here it comes. You can feel the ground shaking just a little and a whiff of electricity in the air. You're surrounded by orange and black stuff … even if you are not a fan of the Oregon State Beavers. Candy is in the house. That's good news if you had trick or treaters on Tuesday and bad news for your waistline if you didn't. Or, you are like me. This is the week I buy leftover Halloween candy because I'm under pressure from the upcoming holidays and chocolate helps. Besides, what can be wrong with candy corn in a Santa bowl?

Pressure? Well of course. It starts with Halloween and ends with New Years Day. Everything in between happens like someone turned on a giant vacuum cleaner and put the suction device up to your ear. This space left will be filled with fairies and Santas and mangers and tinsel and Christmas cards. It will smell like turkey and ham, stuffing, cinnamon candles and peppermint. Your checkbook will dance before your eyes, which will be filled with tears when you take out the light strings from last year.

Most of us get lost right there. We are still trying to have the "ALL holidays." This is an accumulation of ALL the years we've lived and ALL of our holiday experiences. This is driven by memories and traditions. If there's a problem here, it's that we don't have the physical or mental strength to make holidays “just like they used to be.” We're too old for ALL of it and afraid we can't be enough.

I say, "BALDERDASH!" You have choices. Let's review.

I'm going to ask you to take the easy way out and be yourself. WHAT? Most of us aren't even sure of who that is. Heck, I'm going to be 70 and all I know is that I'll be celebrating with the turkeys this year. Do I care if one visits my house? Nope. Just fine with a pizza. Why? I've started giving up holiday guilt one year at at a time. Besides, this year Thanksgiving is MY DAY!

This doesn't mean I don't care about the holidays... or family traditions or any of the long list of things I used to do this time of year. Truth is, I have limits now. This is the new me. I am transformed because I am older and each year gives me something new to consider for "alteration."

Let's take Christmas cards. At one point in my life I sent more than 120 of these beauties. I hand addressed and wrote a message on each card. At some point my hands stopped working correctly. I conned my daughter Pam into writing the addresses for me. Then I wrote holiday letters by computer until the year my brother died and I couldn't think of anything to say. I wrote those again but eventually ran out of the energy to tell friends about illness and death at Christmas. Yes, I know, "That's life," but I quit. The guilt was almost unbearable that first year. I still feel it each year as the cards come but things change.

Outside decorations were next. They blew down every year so we just stopped putting them up. Inside decorations don't blow down but they do fall down. We put up only that which we can reach from standing height. Yes, there is a tree. No, don't ask if it's a fake because you won't like the answer but it works for us.

If there's a favorite here, it's food and we are using our new old years to get more adventuresome during the holidays. It's great fun and we've found some real treats along the way. Yes, I know we are leaving some family traditions behind but we are creating some new ones. Think of it this way... if we kept the original Thanksgiving menu from the history of our country it would be icky. I have plucked a goose and there are living witnesses... it's not a pretty story. The resulting goose was not good. Bad goose.

Relax. BE YOU. Find a place to fit in with each holiday. Things change and some of us have limitations. Find a role that fits you best. Be yourself and tell the truth about what you can't do. Don't pretend. Don't make excuses. No guilt.

You've been granted permission to be yourself by the Geezer Tribe. :)

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