So it's just after 6 a.m. I'm taking Otis for a walk, hoping to get a good 20 minutes in before the sidewalk gets hot enough to fry the soles of my shoes. Walking the dog is always a time to think about the day ahead, notice what's around me and enjoy the moment I'm living.
And what moment is that this morning?
"Hmmm," I say to myself, noticing the sun's not completely up yet, evidence that we're on the far side of the day-lengthening curve. "The days are getting shorter. I'd better start thinking about the theme of this year's Christmas letter."
Wait. This year's Christmas letter?
It's July. There's still 14+ hours of daylight. Today's heat index is predicted to top 100. It's 161 days until Christmas. A Christmas letter theme is not a pressing issue today.
Except to me, perpetually living in any time other than the moment and clearly making no discernable progress toward change.
Now, to be fair (I believe this is called rationalization) I give great thought to the theme of my annual Christmas letter. I know Christmas letters are generally the source of derision, as welcomed at the holidays as fruitcake. But I will not send a Christmas card without a personal note, and I don't have time to think up and hand-write personal notes to all those people. So several years ago I acquiesced to the photocopied personal note aka a Christmas letter.
But mine are not fruitcakes. My Christmas letters are illuminating. Funny on purpose. People eagerly await them. (More rationalization? No. That's delusional....)
Await they do, because I never get it out on time. Illuminating, not so much, but when you don't really have anything new to say from one year to the next, a clever theme is all that stands between my Christmas letter and the recycling bin. Thus, my intense focus on a theme.
Last year with all the hoo-rah about Twitter, I sought to showcase my social media savvy and served up my year in tweets. A Christmas Twetter is a hard act to follow, upping the ante for 2010.
Which is why at 6 a.m. on a sweltering morning in July I'm walking my dog, worrying about a Christmas letter that frankly, doesn't need to occur at all, much less be worried about today.
Otis is not the seize-the-moment force Mr. James is. But stopping to do his business, he did bring me back to the present, at which point I made a conscious choice to stop thinking about the Christmas letter, and pay attention to the pretty blue sky instead.
Besides, I'd already come up with my theme.
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