Driven To Distraction….?

‘Tis the season to be … driven to distraction?

Deck the halls, bake the goodies, shop ‘til you drop, wrap the gifts, trim the tree, hang the stockings, light the Menorah (I know I may be a bit late with this one), sing in the choir … the list is endless.

Then there is the endless round of visiting, partying and social responsibilities. Even trickier is coordinating with family – who will be where, when? What will you bring? Who are you going to disappoint? Who will be hurt by the choices we are forced to make?

The other aspect of it all is that there is an expectation that we will always be happy, cheerful and full of optimism. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, right? Is it any wonder that so many dread this time of year; that we feel an elevated level of anxiety and pressure along with the excitement and anticipation?

I know that I am far from immune to these feelings. I am ‘driven to distraction’ at this time of year and find that my fuse grows shorter and my productivity declines. Some things have to be set aside, some are forgotten, some are given a lick and a promise to do better later – if later comes at all.

But I am a writer. I have deadlines. I have a post due –when was that again? And if I don’t get my head back into my work in progress I’ll lose my thread, my flow. But that pie needs filling and I forgot to buy the Jello for the salad. Stop! I have a post to write. Yes, of course, where was I? Remind hubby to send that package. The deadline is this afternoon.

Oh, crap, I almost forgot the excerpt for the writers group tomorrow, 1000 words to send off. What’s that smell? Oh, no, my cookies. Ack! Phew, they’re salvageable, only a bit crisp on the edges. Now where did I put their pieces to critique? What time is it?

Back to the keyboard. Send off that piece. There, that’s one bit done. I realize I am starving. I forgot lunch. What? Check email – 173 new ones, another two hours gone. That reminds me. I must wish my Facebook and Twitter friends happy holidays. There’s that group on Facebook. Must congratulate on new five star review. Oops, I forgot to add potatoes to the shopping list. What? Is it dinner time already? Let’s eat out; I didn’t take any meat out of the freezer. Yes, I know we can’t afford it but it can’t be helped. Don’t give me that look.

Now, where was I? Oh yeah, the post. Now I’ve forgotten what I was going to write about. And it was going to be a good one, too. Think, Yvonne. That blank screen isn’t going to fill itself. Nope. It’s gone. Where are those stockings? Did you remember to buy the candy to put in them?

What? What do mean they aren’t coming? I made their favourite cookies. No, it’s OK. I understand. New Year’s Eve instead? I suppose that works.

Post. Back to the post. It’s due tomorrow. Well, I guess this is it.

If this all has a familiar feel to it try to do what I do – remember last year and all the years before. It all came together in the end, didn’t it? We remember those events fondly, don’t we, for the most part at least? OK, there were a few bloopers, but most folks have forgotten them. And for those who refuse, ah, let it go. Breathe. Eat. Sleep. Forgive. And remember to smile. It makes everyone, even you, feel better.

Whatever your tradition this season, I hope it is a happy one filled with family, good food, and lots of love.

Oh, that’s right. I have to actually post this now. I almost forgot. I’m still driven to distraction. 😀

Author: Yvonne Hertzberger

Yvonne Hertzberger is a native of the Netherlands who immigrated to Canada in 1950. She is an alumna of The University of Waterloo, with degrees in psychology and Sociology. Her Fantasy trilogy, ‘Earth’s Pendulum’ has been well received. Learn more about Yvonne at her blog and her Amazon author page.

29 thoughts on “Driven To Distraction….?”

  1. Yes Yvonne, tis the season to be overwhelmed! Great post!
    When I remember the way the holidays were before my sons grew up, I almost pass out thinking of how frantic I became, needing (wanting) everything to be perfect. If the tree was perfect, along with the decorations, the food, the gifts, the wrapping paper, the outdoor lights, then…everyone would be happy, right?

    Later I realized that the best gift I could give my family at the holidays was a relaxed state of mind! Now that my sons are adults, we don’t exchange gifts, but donate to local food banks, instead. Gifts are only for the grandchildren. We all contribute to the pot luck dinner, so no one has to do it all. I do see my son trying to make his family’s Christmas “perfect” too, yet somehow, he manages to stay calm and enjoy the chaos.

    Reading Facebook posts about what my friends are overdoing, I feel like a wimp for not baking those cookies or inviting people over for a party but in the end, I’m grateful to have left those compulsions behind. I relax and enjoy the season to the best of my ability.

    1. Giving time and gifts to charities like food banks is a much better way to celebrate than gifts – except for the kiddies, as you say. I always say I am going to do less but somehow other things keep taking the places of those I gave up. Maybe next year. 🙂

  2. Oh man, I feel your pain, Yvonne. Seems like I was much better at handling holiday stress years ago. This year, I feel like a hamster on a wheel. And it doesn’t help that I’m plugging the new book with a blog tour this month (and whose bright idea was *that*??). Aieee…

  3. What a laugh! You summed it up beautifully. Having just got back from a trip away and discovered my inbox tray was so full of emails my computer needed smelling salts to recover from the shock, this post has really appealed.
    I’m cancelling Christmas to get my writing done. Luckily, I live with the original Grinch so he’s actually happy with this arrangement. Well, we’ll see how that works out when he gets a frozen pizza thrown at him for Christmas lunch.

  4. Hahaha! I’m exhausted just reading this!! Luckily, this year, my beautiful daughter is marrying on Dec 22nd, which is the perfect excuse to say ‘no’ to all the business and just focus on her. So no cards, few presents (I made her a quilt as a wedding gift) and a relaxing post-wedding Christmas looking back on her lovely day with my husband.

  5. rofl! and most of my friends and family fail to understand that I am working, not “playing” on the computer

  6. It all comes down to family first, and we can’t waste enough time on them, they are our most precious of relationships during our short time here on this earth. So joy to all of your relatives and have a great Christmas season.

  7. When the voices in your head start writing your confusion into their storyline–STOP EVERYTHING–take a deep breath, have a cuppa, put your feel up and read a book. Forget the rest of it! Somehow it all gets done!

  8. Great post, Yvonne.
    As I rushed around today I kicked over a full glass of water onto the hard wood floor. It went under a piece of furniture, which had to be moved to make sure I got all of the water. It was really dusty under there, so cleaning commenced. That’s what I get for moving fast …
    Now I’m back in my office, trying to relax and finish the writing I started. And, not worry that I need to bake a diabetic cake for someone who is visiting tomorrow. I guess we’re all in the same boat this time of year. 🙂

    1. True, Lois. And it doesn’t seem to matter what our beliefs or traditions are, religious or secular, it seems to get almost all of us. All we can do is try to maintain a sense of humour and remember that it usually turns out OK.

  9. Sounds about right Yvonne. I’m determined not to get stressed this year (ha!) but either way, I hope you have a very merry Christmas! 🙂

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