There is this great chapter in Shauna Niequist’s book Bittersweet (which, sidebar, everyone should read) called “Things I Don’t Do.” This chapter has greatly impacted the way I see my time, and the commitments I make. Also, it totally threw this intense and consuming pressure I put on myself to do all the things off kilter. In short, this brief essay says that we need to be comfortable with the ‘things we don’t do,’ in order to do things we, well, do do. For me, on a large scale, that looks like not: cooking every night, gardening, being a dog owner, washing my hair everyday, curling my hair ever, wearing mascara, etc etc.
I’ve also realized that this theory has an influence in my little decisions too. The decision to not go shopping for some new shoes, when I really want to stay in; the decision to not try that pinterest craft, and just buy the damn thing instead; the decision to not be early-to-sleep, so I can hang out with a good friend for an hour longer. Deciding against something, is indeed casting a vote for something else, something more important– and hence, why this idea is necessary in the first place.
I don’t cook that much, craft that much, garden at all, because I prefer reading, and writing, and drinking wine with friends. I don’t sleep all that well or all that much, for the same reasons.
And this year, this Christmas season, one thing I am choosing not to do: send a Christmas card. I may feel somewhat like the friend who didn’t get a gift for the friends who did get me a gift, but I am accepting it. Because this year, it wasn’t worth it for me. Even the thought of it stressed me out. I am taking so much joy in receiving cards in our mailbox everyday, but this year, I will just receive them and be grateful for my friends who did take the time to send them.
And this strange pressure I feel to be the young wife who makes the perfect Christmas card? Meh. This year, it’s just one of things I don’t do. So here’s the photo we would have sent, us all beaming and starry eyed on the front porch of our honeymoon cabin.