I’ve decided to give myself a gift this holiday season.
It hasn’t held space on my Amazon wish list, nor have I ever written it at the top of a hand-scrawled Christmas list (so it’s clearly not a pony).
I’m fairly confident it was not a popular item on Black Friday, nor will it get stolen in this year’s Yankee Swap.
No matter how much I wish and hope and dream, I know I won’t find it under the tree on Christmas morning — not to diminish the stupendousness of Mr. Claus, but this is a gift that only I can give.
You see, I’m giving myself the gift of uncertainty.
Whether by pure calendar placement coincidence, or otherwise, the holidays come with expectations.
Expectations based on the past year’s reflections.
Expectations on how and what you will celebrate.
Expectations on what you will be proud of, the challenges you’ll face, and what the dawning new year will bring.
And after spending several holiday seasons expecting a life that has simply not yet happened, I’ve decided it’s not the right way for me to find the true magic of the holidays.
So I’m giving myself the gift of uncertainty.
What happens when we really and truly release our expectations and deepest fears, and become open to all of the amazing twists and turns that life will bring? What if we look at every day as a grand adventure and simply celebrate the fact that we are on this earth and are lucky enough to sit in the first row of our very own roller coaster?
Maybe that’s where the true magic lies — in the place where instead of writing the book, we jump into the illustrations and let the story unfold.
I would be lying if I told you that I haven’t spent the past 4 consecutive Decembers noodling that the upcoming year would finally be the one where things happened.
My health stabilized.
We got a dog.
Didn’t count pennies.
Started a family.
Galloped off into the sunset.
And while those are all still dreams that I will continue to believe in with every fiber of my being, I no longer plan on making them expectations. When I expect something to happen, it gives the false illusion to myself that I’m in control of the outcome — and in this situation, I’m simply not…and that’s ok.
In fact, I’m giving my expectation list a total head to toe makeover, including the one in which I still dream of being an Olympic gymnast. I’m 6 feet tall, 31 years old, and am not confident in my ability to somersault…so, ya know, there may be a few items to discuss.
Sure — releasing control is terrifying. We build grand, elaborate blueprints for our lives and though they rarely go according to plan, we still somehow expect them to happen exactly as we imagined.
If you think about it, it’s absolutely nuts.
If things did go exactly according to our original plans, I would most likely be betrothed to either my 2nd grade crush (who tragically broke my heart when he moved to Pittsburgh) or Chip — the broken teacup in Beauty and the Beast…who, I’d like to point out, is approximately 8 years old.
Come on…admit it — he is the cutest darn teacup you have ever seen in your life…and his mother is Mrs. Potts!
We build these expectations in our mind of how life is supposed to go, and then when they fall away, we are left emotionally scrambling to climb a mountain that is irreparably falling apart. It’s exhausting.
So I’m giving myself uncertainty.
I’m wrapping up the ability to find peace with who I am, right here in this very moment — to find the song in the silence between what we expect and the magic of the unforeseen possibilities.
In truth, I’m letting my spirit do the holiday shopping this year.
So I choose uncertainty — wrapped in bright red paper, with a giant sequined bow.
For in a world with so little in our control, I know that this magical choice is mine.