I would like to dedicate this blog post to the beautiful young adults who were just vomited into the reality of post-grad life. I feel your pain, my friend.
I adore the holidays, y’all – the celebration of the Savior’s birth, the wonderful family time, the fabulous food, the selfless generosity, the guilt-free rest – I adore every piece of the holiday season.
Before this year, holidays have always meant fellowship, rest, and relaxation. Not on the actual holiday, of course, (anyone else run around like crazy on Thanksgiving and Christmas day?) but the days surrounding the holidays were always an amazing time to escape the real world.
What day is it?
Is it acceptable to eat fudge for breakfast?
How many Hallmark movies can I watch in a row before I too begin to curl my hair in perfect Hallmark spirals?
In college, winter break meant no more studying (holla), no more tests, no more sorority obligations, and no more 8:00ams. Winter break meant that I could go home and wake up at the butt-crack of dawn in order to earn real money to support my very real Dunkin’ iced coffee addiction. I enjoyed work when I came home on break because it was different, it was a way to earn some income, and because I worked the family business which meant that my job was pretty flexible.
Last holiday season (2017), me and my best friends from college adventured to Myrtle Beach to reign in the New Year (the featured image of this post is a snap shot of this amazing trip). It was so simple – we just picked a date and rolled with it. I never really stopped and thought, “Man, this could be the last holiday season that I get to spend not working and I get to spend part of it with these beautiful people.” I wish I had thought these things, but I am so thankful for that trip and for the memories it has given me.
I love what I do for a living – don’t get me wrong – but I was not mentally prepared for how this first adulting holiday season would effect me. Pure exhaustion was my companion throughout the majority of December. Juggling work, family, shopping, holiday events at work, and all the things had me running on empty throughout most of the month. I have gained an intense appreciation for all those who have to work through the majority of the holiday season. I applaud you, my friend – you da real MVP.
I was able to take off Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day (such an incredible blessing), so I don’t even have much room to talk on this topic, but I wanted to write to you all anyways. If you are in the midst of a hard-working season, I pray that you will find comfort in knowing that you are not alone. If you are about to embark on the incredible journey of adulthood, I pray that these words would help you appreciate your current season and prepare you for the road ahead. These are the words that I will read on November 1st of 2019 – a sweet reminder to myself as I begin to work through my second post-grad holiday season:
1. I will be tired.
Adulting is tough, dude. I try to get at least seven hours of sleep, practice self-care, exercise, drink my water – you know the drill. But when the holidays came knocking at my door, I was tired. College friend, if you’re used to the restful winter break that I was used to, brace yourself. Rest did not come for me until New Year’s Day (which I also thankfully had off – thank you, Jesus). Meditate on 2 Corinthians 12:9, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” Where I feel weak, the Lord will shine. He will do the same for you.
2. I am working for the Lord, not for man.
Colossians 3:23 was a huge heart-check for me during this past season: “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” The holiday blues are no excuse to not do the job I was created to do. If I know with all my heart that the Lord has called me to be where I am in this moment, then I should do my job well. Has the Lord called you to be a nurse? A restaurant manager? A physical therapist? A firefighter? A waitress? A doctor? Then work well – even when some of your friends have more days off during the holiday season.
God has called me to be an Activity Director in a skilled nursing facility right now. When I show up to work, I have a choice to either step into the position He has lead me to or to pout about how I wish I was off on Christmas Eve. I want my work to glorify Jesus, y’all – especially during the holidays. I did not have the best attitude on Christmas Eve (for more details, check out my post titled, “‘Tis The Season”), but man, have I gained an incredible appreciation for days off and for the beautiful job I have the privilege of working. Next year will be better. This life is all about learning, after all.
3. I chose this life.
Every single person in this world has the option to make their life what they want to make it. I chose to work in a long-term care facility with a fantastic population of older adults, which means that I will have to work when others do not, I will have to stretch myself emotionally in order to pour into my residents, and I will have to learn to embrace that 8:00-4:30 life (which is actually an amazing life, might I add). If I had wanted breaks and holidays, then I should’ve chosen a different profession. If you don’t like where you are right now, take heart, God is using you in incredibly beautiful ways. God willing, I know that you are completely capable of changing your life’s direction. But in the meantime, take a deep breath and embrace the beautiful reality of where the Lord has placed you.
4. Love anyways.
When other’s attitudes stink, when stressors ignite, when tempers flare – love anyways. Choose to love the imperfect human’s the Lord has placed in your life. Loving others is a choice. Loving others is an action. Our wonderful Savior loved us enough to become a human in the middle of this crazy world amongst some crazy people – the least we could do is love others to the best of our abilities.
5. At the end of the day, it’s just a season.
The holiday season is simply that – a season.
Yes, it is a fantastically beautiful season full of meaning and celebration, but it will also pass you right by. Soak it up, praise God for it, and remember you are not alone if you feel a little bitter about having to work.
Teenagers, you got this. Young adults, you got this. Middle-aged adults, you got this. Older adults, you got this.
Well, sometimes you don’t, but God does, and that’s all that matters.