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December 11: Take a breath

In Sweden, the main Christmas celebration take place on Christmas Eve, the 24th. This makes today the "halfway" mark of the advent calendar.

As a child, I remember a sense of excitement in getting to the 12th on my  advent calendar (which, for the record, is hanging up in my hallway right now). The advent calendar - woven by my mother - is long and rectangular, half of the days marked on one the left side and the other half on the right. That means that on the 12th of December, half of the calendar was full with notes, and only one half left to go before the 24th. It was, and still is, a very visual reminder of how many days have passed and how many are left.

As a child, that felt like an accomplishment, because it meant that every single day I had diligently managed my anticipation for the coming celebratory finish line.

As an adult, the halfway mark feels much more stress-induced. "We're already two weeks into December?? Where did they go??" I think to myself, mentally calculating all the things that need to get done in the coming days. I find myself wanting to stop time and crawl into a cave instead. 

I find this happening with all kinds of big events, like birthdays and vacations. As children, we count down the days, proud of ourselves for inching one step closer. The time feels like it's crawling along. Yet as adults, most often it feels like time races by, and one morning, whatever the big event is, it's slapping you in the face to remind you of its appearance. Anticipation has been squashed by the fast pace of real life. 

And so, I have to remind myself to stop. We all do.

We have to remind ourselves to breathe. To be in the moment. To make time for a little more magic.

After all, this should be a month about enjoying every day, not just counting down and putting all the pressure on the one. Otherwise, it all flies by, and come the end of the month you look back and wonder what even happened in those weeks. 

So take some time today to take a breath. Make a cup of coffee. Read a couple of pages of a book. Go outside to watch the light in the sky as the sun sets.

Take the proverbial pause, to honor the halfway point and perhaps to recalibrate a bit.


PS: if you are feeling up for a little more action today, I'd recommend baking a batch of saffron buns in anticipation of Lucia day tomorrow!

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