So it’s that time of the year again.
Where we say buhbye to 2010 and sexy ourselves up so 2011 will dig us like an old soul record.
Pretty much every single person I know is knee deep in some mix of dreaming, scheming and reflecting right about now.
Putting a bow on things.
Writing lists of lessons learned.
Making gigantigorgeous plans for next year.
It’s that whole yearly wrap up thing.
Taking stock of where you’ve been. Figuring out where you want to be.
And parts of this end-of-the-year ritual are 100% pure awesome.
Other parts, not so much.
Hold the sprinkles
I’ve talked to five coaching clients in the last two weeks who were feeling totally angst-ey about the end of the year.
And when I asked what was up with the angst-ey bits, they all had basically the same answer.
They’ve each had a lot of suck happen this year.
And every single one of them was feeling this pressure to wrap up the ack into some neat little package before saying toodles to 2010.
Like they had to remix the suck and turn it into something positive. All of a sudden. On command.
Looking for the silver lining.
Finding the gift in the hard.
Being grateful for what they learned.
And not only that, but they had to do it before 11:59 pm on December 31st.
That, fab taters, is what I’d call a double dip of bullshit, served in a crap cone and topped with extra suck sprinkles.
File under “futile” (See also “annoying”)
There is nothing more annoying than forced gratitude.
Which is not to be confused with real life gratitude. Which is actually the awesome.
But this forced stuff?
It’s gross. And plastic. And pretty much totally useless.
Because you are where you are.
And you feel how you feel.
And, sure, there’s a ton of things you can do to get yourself to a different place. But pretending you’re there when you’re not isn’t one of them.
If you’re feeling gnarly about some suck, acting like you don’t isn’t going to automagically turn ack into a unicorn.
And trying to look for the silver lining or find the gift when you’re still mad or sad or hurting?
At least they meant well
And I get that it totally doesn’t help when friends and family (and coaches and bloggers and… and… and…) start in with the platitudes.
Everything happens for a reason.
It all works out in the end.
Something good will come from this.
Something good may totally come from this. At some point.
But when you’re in pain, that’s not even a little helpful.
Because the ouch behind the mad and the sad and the hurt is right now.
That’s what has your attention.
And that’s ok.
Because you’re totally allowed to feel the ouch for as long as you feel it.
I’m not saying it’s smart to wallow.
But it’s also not smart to whoosh past your pain because you feel like you should be at the silver lining part already.
And not only is this not smart, it totally doesn’t work.
Because positive thinking doesn’t equal bullshitting yourself.
It’s all. Happening. In. S-l-o-w motion.
My Christmas kind of sucked.
Ok, actually, it sucked a lot.
Someone super close to me announced their surprise engagement. To a totally iffy person. At the dinner table. In front of everybody.
I was shocked. And horrified. And really sad.
After the big reveal, I spent the next four hours giving my Don’t Lose Your Shit kit a serious workout.
And somehow I managed to avoid a total meltdown.
But by the time I got home I could barely talk without tearing up.
All I wanted was my drum, my monkey slippers and a bucket of macaroni and cheese.
You spin me right round, baby (right round like a record, baby)
The next day I talked to a sweet friend about le suck from the night before.
And they were totally trying to be helpful.
But they went straight to putting a positive spin on things.
Think happy thoughts.
And, seriously, the marriage probably won’t even happen because of this and this and this.
That last part?
Kind of funny, actually. And probably totally true.
But, right then, I didn’t need unicorns.
I just needed to be mad and sad and all kinds of confused.
Stop the clock
There is no time limit on your pain.
No one gets to stand there with a stopwatch timing how fast you finish.
And, if they try, tell them to suck it.
If you’re in pain and you’re ready to put a bow on it, rock on.
If you’re at the point where you can see the lessons you’ve learned and the gifts you’ve gotten, go you.
And if you’re not, know that it’s totally and completely ok.
Consider this your permission slip to be where you are.
And to feel what you feel.
And to get to that please-pass-the-unicorn part whenever you get there.
This isn’t a race.
You’re not behind.
And you don’t have to push extra hard or run extra fast just because we’re about to say sayonara to 2010.
You have plenty of time.
Deep breath in.
Deep breath out.
<end of transmission>
Flickr credit – Jayel Aheram