I’ve always had trouble with any type of project that requires little bits of effort over a long period of time. This is why staying permanently fit has been a problem for me. I tend to drift a little bit during the day and having to fix certain activities in my schedule, week after week, seems to disrupt my natural approach to living.
That is why writing Christmas cards has always stressed me out. I like the part where I assemble a list and imagine how good it will feel to finish and mail 100 cards, but the full execution really challenges me. Part of the problem is that I don’t every want to write a Christmas letter to insert into cards. The pressure to be funny and profound always puts me off. So I have fallen into the pattern of writing a personal note inside each card. Sometimes I bring people up to speed on key moments in the last year, sometimes I just say hi and how much I have been thinking of the recipient.
Last year, I didn’t send any at all. The holiday period came and went before I could clear the time. I did keep all of last year’s cards, and I have used them as the basis to send out my own cards this year. Starting on December 1, I have written about 2 cards a night. Last night I wrote 8. With this approach, I will have answered all of last year’s cards by next Monday and will push through my entire list by Christmas Eve.
It never occurred to me until Sunday that the reason it feels so triumphant to finish the Christmas card project in any year is that it allows me to prove to myself that I can override my own working patterns, patterns that have frustrated me for years.
I’m well on the way, and I’m confident of making it this year. Maybe I should make a fitness plan for New Year’s. Usually I avoid a New Year’s resolution, but I’m feeling especially determined this year.