Happy Holidays everyone! I hope as you read this you are spending time doing whatever it is that makes you happy. In the end, isn’t that what we all strive for? Every year around this time I stop and look around at all the madness the holidays bring. I watch people go nuts trying to make everyone around them happy and try and fit into that cookie cutter mold of being cheerful for the holidays. I watch so many people go into severe financial debt buying more and more crap nobody ever really wanted. I watch young kids get indoctrinated early with dozens of presents. So many that they can’t enjoy any of them and it just becomes a frenzy of more more more. Do you find yourself in any of these situations? Do you breath a little sigh of relief come January? Do you want to break the cycle?
About ten years ago, I came to the realization that I wanted out. It is just like the Matrix in a funny way, you just have to decide you are done and want out. I realized that I didn’t enjoy this time of year and the sheer hypocrisy of it didn’t sit well with me. I opted out. Every year based on my finances, I take what I would have spent trying to keep up with the cookie cutter holiday vision and donate it to a charity. Lately it has been the Make a Wish foundation because I like the idea of the money going to make a child a little happier when everything else in the world is letting them down.
I have ridden the roller coaster of buying stuff and not having stuff and I have seen the light. Stuff owns you! Get rid of it. Do you think we exist to work jobs we hate, go to obligations we don’t like or follow traditions that are not our own? Hell no! Freedom isn’t bought contrary to popular belief. It is just the opposite. When you shed all the self imposed and societal imposed beliefs of stuff equals happiness, you will find your freedom. For years I got teased about traveling with just a small bag or backpack. The truth is, it was liberating and one of the first things that helped me understand that less is more. Without a million things to lug around, I was free to move. Free to spend more time exploring and less time digging through stuff or wondering what to wear or what items I thought were so essential that I couldn’t survive without them. This has translated well into my own life. The less I own, the less I owe, the less I need, the better I feel. Don’t let the Hallmarks of the world tell you when to celebrate. Don’t take someone else’s dream and make it your own. Break the cycle and join me in living a little freer and breathing a little easier. Donate, give back, travel around and see first hand what need really is and while you are doing that, spread the money, caring and help around. Make every day of your life a holiday and never let em fool you into thinking that you have to do it their way.
Let 2017 be the year that you want it to be. Stop letting society, family and debt be your guide. Follow your heart. My only regret is I didn’t do it sooner. I recently passed by a sign advertising for a buffet. It read “Life is short, make good choices”. That is one wise buffet.