Holiday plan, 2020: take a break!


I've run the gamut, A to Z

Three cheers and dammit, C'est la vie

I got through all of last year, and I'm here

Lord knows, at least I was there, and I'm here

Look who's here, I'm still here

—from “I’m Still Here” by Stephen Sondheim

We’ve almost come to the end of 2020. Congratulations, you’re a winner. You’re still here. Whatever your expectations were for 2020, I guarantee that the reality of this past year altered most of them. In the past, I’ve used December as a time to evaluate the past year and make plans for the next one. This year, however, I can’t help but borrow from the brilliant Mr. Sondheim and say, “Three cheers and dammit, C’est la vie!” After all, we just came through the worst year in most of our lives and we're still here. We don’t know what the world will look like next December, but we’re still here. 

Last Christmas I wrote about dropping holiday expectations. This year I offer this modest proposal: take a break. Step away from self-improvement projects. Shelve career efforts. Order more take-out. Give yourself permission to be a sloth for a few days. Maybe (cue gasp) abandon your usual practice routine and play something different, or (bigger gasp) not play at all.  After all, there will be plenty of time in January to get things going again. I’m no seer, but I can guarantee this: 2021 will take every ounce of energy and creativity we’ve got to get through the rest of this pandemic and begin putting our lives, careers, communities, and industries back together. A week or two off may be the reset button we need in order to be at our best when January arrives. 

Taking a break can be whatever you need it to be. For some, it may be a complete immersion in a cocoon of holiday hygge. For others, it might involve disappearing into great literature or spending hours chatting with friends. And hey, while we’re feeling the holiday glow, how about we take a break from self-criticism and applaud ourselves for doing and being the best we could under adverse circumstances? Maybe, if we can give ourselves a break for whatever failings we've piled up this year, we can extend this generosity to others in the spirit of Christmas giving. We’ve earned it. It’s our collective Christmas bonus. We just came through annus horribilis and we’re still here. 

And so, as I enter my own Christmas break, I raise a glass (or two!) of holiday cheer to all of us: Merry Everything. I look forward to seeing everyone again in 2021.