Friday, November 25, 2011

Human Nature?

The holidays are a time that brings out the crazy in most people.  As people come together to celebrate the year, we are bombarded with messages of materialism, pressured to present our homes in a seasonal manner and told that everything needs to be perfect.  This usually leads to humanity at its worst; headlines of "Black Friday Mayhem" always appear (this year, pepper spray is a big theme), aggression increases in daily life as people prepare to travel or receive guests and there's a major focus on making sure there are enough presents to open.

Can I ask, is anyone else sick of this?

Yesterday, Grey and I had a lazy Thanksgiving. Originally we planned to spend the day skiing with friends, but when we realized that it would involve crossing the US/Canadian border with my injectables, we decided not to chance it.  Instead, we slept in, woke up around 10 am, made love and began preparing dinner around noon. Instead of roasting a turkey, we roasted chicken. We made pumpkin pie, green beans, herbed stuffing and mashed potatoes with the skins on them. Grey called family and spoke with each of them, catching up with where everyone was at.  We ended the evening with some tea and cuddling on the couch while Jax and Dais enjoyed a small helping of chicken and some whipped cream.  In short, a perfect day.

It hasn't always been this way.  When we were first married, we played the whose-family-are-we-visiting-during-which-holiday game.  Which meant either 4-5 hr car trip or flying to the midwest.  With my family, there was always the rush to prepare everything, race over to the aunt or uncle that was hosting and then spend the next few hours making small talk, always under the instruction not to bring up the elephant in the room.  Sometime is worked, but there were holidays were it didn't.  And the aftermath from the events, usually involving one person being unhappy, always took months to recover from and the stories have become legends.

It was hard not to reflect on this yesterday, as it was one of the first holidays that my stress-levels weren't through the roof.  Opening the local paper resulted in some of that stress returning, as story after story reported various incidents around the country regarding early morning shoppers.  And I began to wonder: why do we do this to ourselves?

If you google human nature, you'll find a nice overview on Socrates and his view on the subject.  Socrates is said to have studied the question of how a person should best live and believed that the best life and the life most suited to human nature involved reasoning.  Yet when we talk about human nature in a non-academic context, usually it's associated with primitive behavior, usually in the absence of rational thought. The high we receive from dashing through crowds to save a few dollars, to yell at that individual who cut us off in traffic, to send that enraged emailed because the item we ordered won't be here in time for Christmas: we chalk all of it up to human nature.

This year, in light of my upcoming IVF cycle, I'm rebelling.  As I'm suppose to be as calm as possible this upcoming month, I've decided to share that with everyone around me.  For the next 30 days, I will smile at strangers, perform small acts of kindness, laugh more and find pleasure in the things around me.  I'm determined to make this experience, no matter the outcome, a turning point.  A reverse-Grinch if you will.  And I'm hoping it's contagious. 


  1. This is a fabulous post. We refuse to Black Friday shop in person because nothing is worth that kind of stress. Online is one thing, shoving in person is another. There will always be another sale and another coupon.

    Glad you had such a nice, mellow Thanksgiving.

  2. Ohhh, I love the last part about being a reverse Grinch. :)

    I'm supposed to be stress free, too, while planning to start this IVF cycle.... HA! I'm a stress ball always.

    Sounds like a perfect Thanksgiving. <3.

    Kayla (#111 ICLW)

  3. I love this post, expecially the last paragraph. Enjoy every day that you can of this IVF cycle, it's emotional and scary but it's exciting! Soak up every ounce of it!!

  4. I love this post as well. To tell you the truth, I've never enjoyed the holidays. Every year around October I start to get grumpy. I'm afraid that I'm a big Grinch, but it's for the the same reasons you stated above. I hate crowds, rude people, traffic, and most of all, the whose-family-are-we-spending-it-with game. I'm lucky that I live near my family, and my husband moved here for me. This means he feels guilty about not spending enough time with his family. My family is very easy going, but his family is really into making that big feast and have the house look perfect. It's so stressful. I'm so glad that you were able to have the peaceful and quiet Thanksgiving with just the two of you. I'm jealous. It certainly sounds perfect to me! Now off to trying to be a reverse-Grinch....


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