Chaos is simply your beautiful life dancing around you.
It’s the time of year when Christmas music blasts through every store, snow falls gently on rooftops, and lights sparkle as you drive through your neighborhood. It’s also the time of year when parents strain to hear any music at all as they drag their screaming kids away from the toy aisle. The time when the snow and cold blow right through you as you run into the office trying not to slip on the ice. And the time when hanging lights, only to plug them in and find they aren’t working, leaves you unable to decide if you should curse or cry.
The holidays bring so much cheer but along with it, so much chaos. Juggling work, school, kid’s activities, holiday concerts, a business, laundry, gifts, cookies, decorations, cleaning, eating right (oops dropped that ball), and sanity can prove to be a challenge for me and so many. And that doesn’t even touch on the financial stress of gift giving, the fear you might not be able to get off work when you need, or the struggle to find a time for busy families (with other families, two sets of parents, people who work holidays) to be together.
I’m painting a bleak picture. This however, was exactly how I used to experience the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I don’t think I was alone, and I suspect many still see the holiday season through this lens. The chaos of holidays past, or any busy season of life really, created such a heavy curtain of overwhelm I never really enjoyed any of it. I would grumble through the busyness of all of it. “I’m exhausted.” “I’m so stressed.” “I don’t have enough time for this.” And then the holiday (or whatever the event was) would pass, and I would be sad it was over because I never took the time to enjoy any of it.
Part of my struggle with chaos was that I had a hard time living in the present. I could never appreciate that a busy life meant a happy life. That some people would give anything for the noise of children, the obligations as a family member, or even the concerns about a job. I took for granted every moment that just as easily could not have been.
The only thing that changed between then and now is perspective. Now I laugh when the lights don’t turn on. I smile at the moms with the crying kids and tell them I remember the days, and someday they will have pre-teens who can stay at home while they shop. And I can see the snow for its beauty rather than its inconvenience.
My perspective of the chaos changed because of gratitude. Because I can see now what I have to be thankful for. And I see how quickly the days fly, and I choose to live for the day I am in, not the day that was or the day that will be. The funny thing is, this way of life is easier than misery ever was. All because of a mindset shift.
This season, look around at your beautiful life. Is it perfect? I would suspect not. But do you have so many things to be grateful for? Of course you do. And perfect is boring and certainly does not dance like the chaos does. Take a breath and smile. And embrace the imperfection and the crazy chaos knowing that it means life is full and ready to be lived!