December 18th. Back when I was working a corporate gig I LIVED and LONGED for these days in the mid to late teens of December. The (mandatory) ‘festive’ lunches were o-v-e-r and the office would clear out. Each and every year colleagues would question my sanity at working up until Christmas Eve, but, I had a serious secret.
The office was empty. My calendar usually choked with so many meetings coffee intake was timed to allow for strategic loo use was wide open. I could actually, you know, do my job. And so I would. Wrap up projects, clear my email inbox and tidy and organize my cubicle: six months worth of work in six (or five or seven) days.
You know something? I was miserable and resentful.
I was sick right down in the pit of my stomach. The only times I actually LIKED my job were when I was traveling or when the office was empty. The toxic energy was so high that I may well be the only person in history to feel better two days after surgery to remove my gall bladder than I did on any random work week. I longed for a better way of life and I can remember sitting at the swanky bar in the W Hotel with my longtime friend bemoaning our fates. Wondering loudly and often how this could be it? There had to be something more? Something better – but what?
This year the week before Christmas is busier than I have even been in my 40 years on earth. I have been working at warp speed: on a website, writing meditation notes for the monthly group I lead, making calls and contacts. I’ve written my first bona fide magazine article. I’ve collaborated on an ad. I’ve trimmed the tree, shopped for and wrapped endless gifts (my favorite holiday chore), made five dozen truffles, four batches of peanut brittle and made time to visit the Grand Central Terminal Christmas Market. I’ve laughed at the kids dancing on the big piano at FAO Schwartz and knelt to offers prayers of thanks and joy in the Chapel of the Blessed Mother at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
It’s high season for planning and lunching and getting in runs to keep the holiday gain to a minimum. It’s time to laugh and play – looking forward to the breaks and diversions from deadlines.
So, why offer this post on Thankful Thursday?
Well, because I’m so, so, so very grateful to be in a new position. I’m filled with joy to be part of a career that puts me in mindful service to others so they can, in turn, be filled with the wonder and joy of the holiday season.