This Christmas was the best one I've ever experienced with my kids, and I don't think it's because of their ages, or my virtually non-existent stress level, or any other reason except for this one: I am different now. When last Christmas was over, I constructed an idea of what I wanted for this holiday season, and I worked toward asking my family for what I desired.
Getting from the idea to the reality was not without its detours, roadblocks and pitfalls. It was never at any point easy to request something different from what other people wanted. But it was worth it, in every way and for every reason. One of the lines that moved me deeply in the new film How Do You Know was the idea that we should find out what it is we want, and learn to ask for it.
Often I know what I want, but I'm too timid to rock the boat and ask for it. Sometimes I'm afraid of the possible consequences and that is enough to stop me. This time I really knew how I wanted this Christmas to go, for myself and for Jason and the kids, and I changed enough over the course of the last six months to push aside my reservations and fears and replace them with the confidence to go after what I pictured in my head.
When we put the kids to bed last night and took a few moments to reflect on our Christmas, I was overcome with emotion. I had no idea it could be so relaxed and fun and simple. Any dream which becomes a reality that matches the beauty of your original idea provides intense inspiration. I have always loved Christmas, but I didn't love my desire to try to please everyone with my decisions and actions. It's a losing proposition, and I wish I understood that before this year. Sometimes the very act of finding out what we want, and learning to ask for it, is so rewarding that we can hardly comprehend that we didn't always do things this way.
I'm overwhelmed with gratitude for the new person I have become. I still have some sanding to do on my rough edges, and I worry that my new boundaries will slide into self-centred narcissism where I don't bend to accommodate others any more, but I think I have enough good friends who will be kind enough to tell me when I veer too far off course.
Learning to ask for what I want and need in order to pursue my dreams for myself and my immediate family has been like changing from black and white to technicolour as I walk through life. I've flipped a switch somewhere in my soul, and illuminated everything with joy and beauty, instead of trudging along taking care of what I thought other people needed, with no care taken for myself. Now that I am here, I couldn't possibly go back to where I was. This is what personal growth and a little bit of progress feels like, and it is unbelievably satisfying, and worth any price I have had to pay.