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Too much


In early December I had coffee with a friend who's been newly converted to the joys of the holiday season. My yearly bout of seasonal blues were just setting in and she thought she could change my attitude. She suggested shopping by mail, eliminating greeting cards and resolving to not give so many presents. Her remedies went on and on.

I've trimmed activities, avoided malls, cut out my annual 120 cards and curtailed most of my baking. But it hasn't really helped. It's the situation--not my behavior--that is out of control.

The holidays are too much. A lot of people feel overwhelmed by the season, but for me and those like me who have Attention Deficit Disorder, there is little hope of finding joy or peace. With the help of medication, I do OK most of the year. I choose carefully and organize pretty well, but the bounty and peculiarities of the holidays disarm my planning ability.

At Thanksgiving, there are too many guests, too much family at once, too much cooking for a quick gobble, and too many rich and sugar-laden foods. This only heralds the onset of holiday overabundance. With the end of Thanksgiving comes the realization that there's too much shopping to do in too little time. The grocery stores are glutted with displays that make negotiating aisles difficult. Television commercials are more annoying than usual and parking lots are impossible. Worse still, time is splintered into small unusable pieces that destroy my focus and order. When decorations come out, my house looks more cluttered than spirited.

This year, rather than spend money on a disposable tree, I imported one from the mountains. It was half the price and twice as pretty as those I'd seen in the Triangle, and the long drive and heavy traffic was worth it--even though I got a speeding ticket on the way home that quadrupled the price.

I think the ticket was a message from the universe to slow down.

I'm trying to apply the brakes.

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