In the first week of January, every year, for as long as I can remember, I have heard people talk about “getting back to reality”. This reality of course is about “things” and how they actually are as opposed to an idealistic way of seeing or imagining them. I often studied this “reality” that is experienced by most. I have observed that “back to reality” is never mentioned in an enthusiastic way, but more in a defeatist and resigned tone. I wanted to know why this was . But you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see why people feel down in January. In a matter of a few days, from before Christmas to New Year’s, most people shift from relaxing, sleeping longer hours, being with their loved ones, partying, exchanging gifts, and enjoying sports and outdoors activities to the exact opposite of short nights, waking up when it’s still dark and cold outside, getting back to the daily grind, and facing their New Year’s resolutions and objectives that too often look insurmountable.
This must happen when they are not even finished enjoying the successes and accomplishments of the past year. On top of that the credit card bills arrive from the real Santa Claus. Wow, what a shock! Words and expressions have been created for this malaise like “Blue January” and “Blue Monday”, which is the third Monday in the month of January. A travel company once even tried to build an equation to outline how people’s depression reaches a peak in the third week of January. Of course I am no stranger to this; I remember my last holiday season well. I am sitting in my favourite chair, I have a fire burning as it is quite cold outside, I am wearing my New Orleans Saints slippers my brother bought me for Christmas, and I am sipping some very good coffee from a new Nespresso machine my girlfriend gave me for Christmas as well. I am also enjoying a new activity and passion of mine which is writing. What is wrong with this picture? Nothing at first glance, but the problem is that I waited for the holiday season to do this. That particular day, I was finding myself. I was at peace and my stress was gone. I went out and enjoyed nature. I walked in the woods for a long time with my dog. I enjoyed the fresh air and was rejuvenated.
When we say “back to reality”, this is what we should be thinking about. Our realities should be comprised of better things that make us happy, not an abundance of things that stress and kill us. Who or what established those reality standards? Heading into the second half of my life, my only resolution is to make my life more like a holiday season. I want to stay away from those extreme emotional swings like the ones we can experience at the turning of a year. I want to get back to what I love, simple things like playing hockey at the town’s outdoor rink with a bunch of kids for hours. You want a real workout? Go skate with 16 year old Sidney Crosby wannabes! What awesome exercise, a lot more fun than the current gym scene where most people make calls and send texts while doing reps. When self-actualizing, your focus shifts into “being”. You are motivated by values and purpose. You enter a new reality of activating and expressing your creativity and who you want to be. Observing the way we humans are made, there will always be times of struggle in seeking balance. But when thinking about getting back to reality and “real things”, don’t think about a nine-to-five and credit card bills. Think about getting back to your values and upholding what is most important to you.