On a normal day, I interact with some amazing people. Some of them issue challenges, they make me smile, offer encouragement, lend support, supply guidance, or share a friendly cup of coffee, and laugh at my lame jokes. But we are in the high holiday season when family, extended family and nefarious outlaws conspire to hijack get-togethers, dinners and cocktail parties and create uncomfortable situations or exercise their right to expose their difficult side.
Dealing with challenging and unreasonable individuals can suck the joy from the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ and curdle grandma’s famous banana pudding pie. I have devised a plan that resembles the game of hot potato. Cornered, with no chance of escape, I take a deep breath and listen. The breathing helps me to remain calm and non-committal.
I won’t make the mistake of agreeing to a follow-up lunch or an invitation to their junior’s birthday celebration. I nod and watch for my out. It always comes in unexpected ways. An off-hand comment launches an opening for me to pass my companion to another party goer. Or a cousin tucks her hair behind her ear, and I interpret the gesture as a summons to join her in the kitchen.
Each hurdle I clear inches me closer to the exit. Smiles, hugs, empty promises to meet up soon, and I am out the door, engulfed by the freezing night air and silence. The holiday mix cues and ‘Silent Night’ pours from my car speakers, the balm to my frazzled nerves.
How do you stay positive and happy?
Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer