I know this may sound weird, but despite all the talk about hustle and bustle this time of year, it's possible to not be that busy at all.
And if you are already a bit out on the margins, a lack of busy-ness can make you feel even less relevant or plugged into a world where tight schedules are laid out in the smallest of increments, and busy-ness is a badge of honor.
I'm not all that busy for a variety of reasons.
Margaret is at an age where there are no more room mothers, class parties, or nativity pageants. She doesn't play an instrument, so we can cross "recital" off of the list. There are no visits to Santa, and thank God, she can go to the mall with her friends now and not with me.
I decided against a family Christmas card this year, so there's no licking and sticking. And if our kitchen smells anything like gingerbread, it's because of the talent and generosity of friends, not any grand effort on my part. I'm much more of an eater than a baker.
Shopping took place right here at my computer with just a few clicks. Instead of circling stuff in the ToysRus or Target catalog like the kids did when they were small, Margaret just emailed me applicable links. It's good for me to shop from home, because when I head out on my own, I'm more likely to sneak off to the thrift store and come home with another car load of chairs.
There has been a bit of volunteer work, and some writing for other outlets (including a second article for Woman's Day!) but not I didn't schedule any speaking engagements for December, so my work load has been light.
Many good things can come out of time spent DOING: connecting with others, making memories, volunteering, and celebrating the season.
But in this culture (and often cult) of busy-ness, it's good to remember that there may be people who aren't as busy as we might think.
They may be grieving, or lonely, or perhaps just entering a different phase of life with a little more breathing room than they are used to. They may not be feeling very joyful at all.
I sent an email out to my fabulous grief group last week, wondering if we could meet up for dinner. I wondered if it was ridiculous to hope to get together before the new year. We hadn't all five been together in at least 6 months. One by one the emails came back, "I'm in!" and we gathered last night at a local restaurant for a wonderful time together. I'm glad I threw it out there and didn't just assume that each woman would be too busy.
As I write this, things will start to get busier for me. Family is coming into town in just a few days, and we have several parties, plays, and concerts to look forward to.
I don't regret the quiet month I've had at all, and in a way it will help me gear up for what is ahead.
But I'm especially glad that this quiet month has led me to think about others who despite all of the talk about the frantic pace of December may be feeling like their days are far too quiet.
I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this awareness, but I'm grateful to have it.
P.S. Head to Facebook and see the nightstands I finally found for my friend Arnebya.
I hope you'll check out these recent articles I wrote:
Woman's Day Dec 2014 Print Edition on how to help a grieving friend.
Washington Family Magazine, on some of my favorite books!