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Breathing this Holiday

December 23, 2011

This morning, I felt like myself for the first time in a long time.

This past month has gone by in a whirlwind. It feels like I’ve been busy and stressed almost every moment since Thanksgiving. And then this morning, I woke up to a day of no pressure. I’m very lucky to be off work until January 2. I have some work to do from home, but for all intents and purposes, I’m off. Never mind that when I do go back to work, I’ll only be in the office for one week before I head to Hawaii.

Oh, did you forget? That’s right, my friends. I’m going to Hawaii in January. I can hardly believe it!

Today was the first day I looked at my Christmas tree. I mean, really looked. This is the first day that the holiday season hasn’t depressed me. The endless holiday parties and Christmas shopping are behind me. My stressful projects at work are wrapped up for the time being. I have a moment to … well … just breathe.

It’s nice to breathe and enjoy your surroundings every once in a while.

Christmas tree, presents

Yep, I finally got my tree up

Star ornament Christmas tree

One of my new ornaments

flower Christmas ornament, red rose

Another new ornament this year - matches my red couch

Last of my new ornaments- yep, that's Chef and me

Stockings, fireplace, Christmas

Here's our stockings hung with care over the fake fireplace

I’ve received a few emails recently asking for my advice for surviving the holidays after a breakup. Last year, I really struggled during the holiday season. It took me forever to conquer my Christmas tree. This year has been better, but, there are still moments when I get down.

It doesn’t all just go away, you know? When you find someone else, new memories do not replace the old ones that are etched in your brain. You can’t erase six Christmases with one man – the man you thought you were going to have a lifetime of Christmases with – simply because you broke up.

If only it were that easy.

One of my biggest pieces of advice for anyone struggling with a breakup this time of year is to create some new traditions. It’s almost impossible not to think of your ex when you are doing things that you two previously did together. What you can do, however, is create and enjoy new traditions that your ex had nothing to do with.

Last year, my family started a new tradition of doing one family activity around Christmas. First, we went to Busch Gardens’ Christmastown. This year, we enjoyed the Tacky Lights Tour, a bus tour to visit the tacky light displays around Richmond.

Sorry for the fuzzy picture, but seriously, check out this house

A bit calmer than the last one, but still serious electric bills here

Tacky Christmas lights

Definitely made use of a small yard

Christmas lights, Richmond VA

James Center in Richmond

HUGE Christmas tree at the James Center

Loved this Christmas display inside the James Center

Liked this one too

Present for head Christmas

But this one weirded me out and gave me bad dreams

Christmas tree

Loved Hilton's Christmas tree in the window

Another thing that got me into the holiday spirit was this blog post and forum. Basically, this woman turned her blog into a clearinghouse for people who needed help this holiday season, and those who had help to offer. Reading through the comments and seeing the generosity of people around the country was the reminder I needed that people are inherently good.

It’s also a good reminder that the holidays are about a lot more than Santa, crowded shopping malls and the pressure to get that damn Christmas tree up.

I’ve also been thinking a lot lately about the pursuit of happiness. And I don’t mean the amazing Will Smith movie that makes me cry. Every. Single. Time. I mean the process of finding happiness within yourself, and taking ownership of your own happiness. I gave my friend this advice the other day, and as I said the words, they resonated within myself stronger than ever before:

Bad things will happen to you. That is life. It’s how you react to them that defines you. You can let these moments make you miserable, or you can persevere. You can choose happiness. You can choose to wake up every day and do something for yourself that brings you joy. If you don’t know how to bring yourself joy, how can you ever expect someone else to do it for you? If you are miserable, and not doing anything to bring yourself out of it, you have no one to blame but yourself. Your misery is no badge of honor. Your misery is simply time wasted. Opportunities lost. And seriously, life is simply too short.

I have more to say on the happiness topic, but I’m not yet ready. In the meantime, here’s some of my reading that will inform a future blog post, in case you are interested:

Chasing Happiness: You’re Doing It Wrong

Furiously Happy

Saving it for a Special Ocassion? Don’t!

Why Choice Is the Way to Happiness

I’m officially ready to embrace the holidays … one breath at a time. How about you? Any tips for someone going through a breakup this holiday? I’m sending warm wishes to you and your family this holiday season!

Copyright 2011. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.


20 Comments leave one →
  1. December 23, 2011 9:39 am

    I love the ornament with you and Chef! Nice job getting your tree up!

    Merry Christmas!

    • December 23, 2011 6:32 pm

      Thanks, Thoughts! I can’t tell you how proud I am that I have the free up. Might leave it up until March or something. 🙂 Merry Christmas. I’m going to be checking out your blog in the next couple of days – I have a lot of catching up to do!

  2. mom permalink
    December 23, 2011 10:57 am

    Loved the tacky light tour, but most of all the time we will be spending with family this year. As the years pass you grow into an adult to be admired.
    Love you
    Mom

    • December 23, 2011 6:31 pm

      Aww, thank you Mom. The tour was fun, and I’m looking forward to doing something fun again next year 🙂 Love you!!

  3. December 23, 2011 11:08 am

    This is a beautiful post, and your advice on happiness is dead on. It’s something that we all need to be mindful of in our lives.

    Hope you have a fabulous holiday and create a lot of wonderful new memories.

    • December 23, 2011 6:30 pm

      Solitary Diner,
      Thank you so much. I hope you have a really good holiday too – and we are creating new memories. Every single second. We just need to pay attention to them 🙂 Enjoy!!

  4. December 23, 2011 12:54 pm

    Merry Christmas to you and yours! Enjoy it 😉

  5. December 23, 2011 2:38 pm

    Your advice is so true – I plan to print it out and hang it where I can see it everyday! I too feel much more festive this year – I hope your holiday is wonderful 🙂

    • December 23, 2011 6:29 pm

      Robin,
      Thanks so much! Glad it meant something to you. Happy holidays and happy 2012!

  6. December 23, 2011 9:32 pm

    Catherine, it’s so great that you are pouring yourself out and letting other people in a similar situation know that, even though it’s very tough, you are persevering and moving forward with things like new traditions. And you’re right, memories can’t be replaced. They do get dimmer as time goes on …
    You are an inspiration. I’m fortunate that my wife and I have been married for many years, but we’ve known several people who could have used your advice with tough breakups.

    I’m so glad I stumbled back to your blog – was here clear back in October as “onemikesmind” but have changed the blog name: http://mjmonaghan.wordpress.com. Have a very blessed and peaceful Christmas and New Year.

    • December 29, 2011 11:41 pm

      Hey there,
      Thanks so much for coming back and for your kind words! I hope you are doing well this holiday season and it was nice to hear from you again. Happy New Year!! I’ll add your blog to my list of blogs to check out in the new year.

  7. December 24, 2011 2:26 pm

    I love the advice you gave your friend. Easier said than done, but it’s a smart thing to keep in the back of your mind. I also love that red ornament with the roses – very pretty. Also, I think I have the same fake fire as you. Merry Christmas!

    • December 29, 2011 11:39 pm

      LOL! Does your fake fireplace have this heating element that is INCREDIBLY loud?? 🙂
      Thanks – I love that red ornament too! I love it so much I was trying to think of somewhere in my house I could put it year round 🙂
      Happy New Year!!!

      • December 30, 2011 12:25 am

        I almost never use the heating part, so I can’t say I’ve noticed. I just like the little fire lamp.

  8. fromahouseonbrownave permalink
    December 26, 2011 1:58 am

    Hey, you’ve got a great blog! And nice tree, I wish I had put one up this year before all the holiday traveling. Happy holidays! Look forward to reading more of your writing.

    http://fromahouseonbrownave.wordpress.com/

    • December 29, 2011 11:32 pm

      Thanks so much! Appreciate your stopping by. I’ll have to go check out your blog too. And definitely put up a tree. Complaining aout doing it and then enjoying it when it’s finally is up is my new tradition 🙂 haha

  9. December 29, 2011 3:40 pm

    I think the advice you gave (overall) and especially the one to your friend is spot-on. We are all in charge of our own happiness, so owning that has the potential to turn your life upside-down (in a good way).
    Glad your Christmas was good and you have found productive and fun ways to move on with your life– I think I need to check and see if they have a “tacky tour” in Denver– that looks awesome!

    • December 29, 2011 11:16 pm

      The Tacky Lights Tour was so much fun! The only thing missing for me was the background – I so much want to ask the people who own these houses, “How did you get here? Did it start with just one blow up Santa?” LOL. Happy 2012 Kate… hope you are well!

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  1. Let’s End 2011 Warm and Fuzzy « Simply Solo: Single girl starting over – follow the journey

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