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Society says…

Well it’s the day before NYE and I have planned no one special with whom to ring in the new year. This is something that in previous years would have rendered me a hopeless mess of anxiety. I start worrying about NYE approximately January 2nd. It’s a problem. Especially because by that time I’m already deep into Valentine’s Day anxiety.

 

And why? What makes these days any different from any others?

Society.

I mean, to be fair, the change from one year to another is an actual, non-Hallmark-created event, but no one says it has to be celebrated in a certain way with a special person. I mean, I’ve had great years that didn’t start with a New Year’s kiss at midnight and less than awesome years that did.

Then why all the fuss? New years and Valentine’s Day come and go and if no one asks you what you are going to do for them or what you ended up doing for them, how would they ever know? Would there ever be any pressure to do anything? Not any more than on any other day.

So as I took a long walk through my lovely neighborhood this morning and basked in the 75-degree sun-soaked day here in San Diego, California, it hit me: I’m not anxious at all. In fact, all week I kept forgetting that Sunday was the big day.

What led to this mental transformation? Well, I can’t be 100% sure, but I think there are a few big factors.

First, I have become a lot more mindful and grateful. On my walk, I looked up at the sky and was grateful for the sun’s warmth, and for the fact that I live in a beautiful city and a neighborhood that’s adjacent to a park with first-rate walking trails. It’s hard to simultaneously be overcome with gratitude and super worried about the future. You know that whole “be present” and “be grateful” business you always hear about? Well, it kind of works…

And I’ve also come to realize the joy of freedom. I can make my own new year’s plans, and in fact, I’ve made multiple. If I don’t like one, great, I’ll go to the next. I won’t be stuck hanging out with anyone just for the sake of being not alone.

I owe this second realization to having spent a good amount of time focusing on my intuition and listening to what it’s telling me. I’ve stopped waiting for it to yell “YOU SHOULDN’T BE HANGING OUT WITH THIS PERSON” and started listening to the times it whispers this isn’t the best situation for you right now, which makes it a lot more difficult to stay in sub-standard situations and leads me to be a lot more grateful for time on my own.

Finally, I’ve started applying the concepts I teach in strategic quitting to other parts of my life, namely the not caring what society thinks part. I always advise people that they should focus on how quitting a situation would make *them* feel instead of worrying what others would think of their quit. So how could I *not* apply this to what society thinks of certain days? If I was counseling people to quit anxiety-producing jobs or relationships regardless of what others might think, how was I not quitting anxiety-producing thoughts about certain days that were only important because society decided they were.

So I did. I quit putting so much importance on these days. I quit worrying about what I’d be doing and with whom.  Because I don’t have to wait until there’s a societally-promoted day to have a good time. I can make a random Tuesday awesome.

And I have.

And I’ll do it again:)

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