Over the past few years, my daughter and I have made it a point to review and adjust our holiday boundaries. Our time is limited, we have only so many minutes in life, and often to-do lists that would take all of our precious time. For B and I, December is a very busy month, not only do we have Christmas, our birthdays are also in December.
This year, life is quickly changing. B is growing up, and prepping for the next steps in life. I suspect this may be the last holiday season I have her all to myself. With these thoughts in mind, when she asked if we could take off the week of our birthdays to spend time together and do holiday things, I said yes.
Over this past year, we have both changed quite a bit. Neither of us are the same person, we are stronger, more sure of ourselves, and have much clearer ideas of what we want. We have set boundaries, and ended relationships that did not compliment the lives we are building. It may sound harsh, but for both of us this was very necessary.
I have learned over the years that people enter your life for a season. Rarely do relationships last more than a few seasons. One or both of you grow, changing what you are pursuing and who you are. Or, perhaps one of you stops growing, becoming comfortable with life. I had a friend from high school who stopped growing after college. She was happy to live with her parents, choosing to not build a life for herself. For several years we stayed in contact, she even came to visit a few times. The last time she visited was a nightmare. I was in the throws of life and building a career. I had a daughter, was helping with my grandparents and had just graduated from graduate school. My life was moving forward; her life had paused. After a torturous week of entertaining her, cooking for her, and basically serving as her temporary mother, I knew the friendship had to end.
I share this story to let you know that it is healthy to allow relationships to end. You are under no obligations to maintain a friendship because of the good old days. Similarly, you are under no obligations to do the same thing you did last year for the holidays. It is healthy to assess your boundaries, refine them to match where you are in life, and to create new holiday traditions.
One of the best holiday traditions we made last year was choosing to celebrate the holiday by ourselves. It was the first Christmas we could make plans and celebrate how we wanted to. After many conversations, we have decided to celebrate the same way. I think we are more excited about the holidays this year than we were last year. We are choosing stress-free holidays filled with laughter and memories.
Before the holiday season truly starts, I encourage you to review your boundaries, make changes as needed, and then choose how you want to spend your holiday season. Make the conscious choice to honor your thoughts and wishes. Far too often we get caught up in what everyone else wants and lose sight of our needs. Join B and I as we strive to create a healthy and happy holiday season reflective of our boundaries.
Sara Orellana lives in Oklahoma City and writes a weekly column for The Lawton Constitution.