This time of year, it's easy to find yourself starting sentences with "If I can just get through ..."
"If I can just get through the holidays, I can focus more on my career." "If I can just get through the New Year, I'll start eating better and exercise more." "If I can just get through this Christmas party, I'll never have to drink another glass of eggnog and fake a friendly conversation with this stranger again."
That's not entirely an accurate depiction - I've never drank a glass of eggnog in my life.
What is it about this time of year that makes us wish it away? Why do we always want to complete just the bare minimum to get through a simple task?
Part of it could be the stress of another holiday season, a time full of great expectations and (sometimes) even more let-downs. It's also a time of great responsibility: find the perfect gift, decorate the house, cook a delicious meal, travel to see the family.
Maybe all of that responsibility eventually weighs on us all. After all, it's supposed to be a time of year filled with joy, not obligations. Before you know it, you're just "getting through" things.
Ralph Waldo Emerson told us that "life is a journey, not a destination." I've found, however, that as I grow older I'm obsessing more and more over the destination, especially during busy times of the year. I'm always worried about what's next, and not giving the present its proper attention.
I'm willing to bet that I'm not the only one. I do my best to stop and smell the roses, but planning for the future seems to be the most important part of your 20s. Even your late 20s.
If you keep doing the necessary just to get to the next step, life will pass you by before you know it. Plus, in this scenario, how much passion can you really be putting into life?
I hope you all will take some time to enjoy the present with me during the holidays. So when you're sitting with your Great Aunt Muriel who's telling you how great your cousin Jeffery is doing down in Florida with his chiropractic practice, smile and take it all in.
What's next is never as important as what's now.
Beardsley, a native of Loyalsock Township, is a former Sun-Gazette reporter. His column is published on the third Sunday of each month. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.