Stress Lessons Learned in 2012
What haven’t I learned in 2012.
A major lesson came to me very late this year. On December 25. It’s not important or revelatory. But wait, maybe it is.
I have very little success making Christmas Dinner. I have finally come to terms with this.
It doesn’t matter if I get a fresh turkey, a frozen turkey, an easy carve turkey, a turkey made for idiots to prepare… doesn’t matter, can’t do it.
My Turkey Timing is always way off. By hours. So this year, I planned the earliest Oven Entry ever. Turkey was heating well before 12 noon. Damned if I wasn’t going to have my family consume Christmas dinner at a ‘sensible’ dinner hour (never happens) allowing ample time for a festive dessert and decent digestion. (Easy details for those who make successful Christmas Dinners, yes. Not easy for me.)
My turkey took 9 hours to cook. We all know this: once The Turkey is way off schedule, everything else for the meal takes a huge hit.
My mass manufactured biscuits (produced for those who can’t bake, like me) supposedly suitable for lapping up gorgeous gravy, were tooth-shattering pieces of rock, a taste on the palate not unlike Elmer’s Glue.
My gravy, appalling. One memorable year, it was imbued mostly with fat, rippling through its mass in huge oily bubbles. Devastating embarrassment, with impressionable guests present.
Little improvement this time. This year’s sauce was grey, transparent, thin, tasteless. Some fat would have been deeply appreciated.
The very thing I want to succeed at so badly – A Fine Christmas Dinner – is something I fail at, time and time again. After decades I’ve finally realized: wow, I really truly can’t do this!
The comments around the table were kind but pointed. My youngest daughter tossed some flour in the gravy when I wasn’t looking. The other daughter scolded me gently: “Think of all the energy you’re wasting when the turkey is in the oven for 9 hours, Ma.” Even my environmental footprint was under siege.
Most of us have to learn things the hard way. Life Lessons bang us over the head. Over and over and over again. We ignore them. Then, by some amazing miracle (exhaustion? surrender? another bad turkey?) we finally ‘get it.’
Why does it have to take us so long to clue in?
Some other random (but important things) I’ve finally learned – the hard way – in 2012:
- Without laughter, we’re doomed. If you take everything seriously, you’re equally doomed.
- The only person you can change in this whole wide world is yourself.
- You must never let anyone else ‘take away’ who you are, where you’ve been, what you believe in. Without knowing who you are, sticking up for who you are, having a voice of your very own, you’re merely a passive weak shell of skin and bones.
- Do not ignore your gut instincts.
- Be proactive, not reactive. Stew in your pity and sorry drama for a while, you’re allowed. Then move forward.
- Remember that each day is a new day. Yesterday was lousy. Today is great. Life is like that. Especially if you work hard on your attitude.
New Year’s Resolutions? Why bother with new goals when you’re still fighting the endless Hard Lessons Loop? How about working on the lessons you continually fail to learn? Or at least evaluating them? You’ve held on to them for so long! I’ve tried to make a really good turkey for almost three decades! Does this NOT resonate with you?
I’ve learned, I swear. I may hire a stunning, virile, male chef to visit my home next year and prepare my Christmas dinner for me. Or, maybe I’ll try a $100 a plate “Delicate Turkey au jus with Tender Cranberry Compote, Savoury Stuffing Mound, Tender Chiffonade of Winter Vegetables” at some pompous restaurant.
What I will not do is make another turkey in my oven.
Will you repeat your mistakes in 2013? When will you be ready to learn your lessons? Do you secretly prefer heaps of stress and drama? Think about it!
Happy New Year!