This energy of the holiday season captivates me this time of year. I love the traditions, the food, the lights and, of course, time with family and friends. Random thoughts continue to fly through my head as I reflect on the end of another semester and the fact that the New Year is nigh. One thought that repeats in my head between the flurry of lyrics to holiday songs is this simple idea: you get what you give.
I think this quote and recite this quote in several areas of my life. Regarding friendships, I state it when I hear appreciation for my acts of kindness. In other words, I’m basically stating, “you deserve it” as my acts relate to those that have previously poured into me. At school, I frequently remind my students that the more they give to academics and care for their learning the more they will yield in return. Related to fitness, results come from giving more, pushing more, and often sacrificing more. If I simply go through the motions I maintain the equilibrium, but if I shock the system and give more by squatting deeper, holding a plank longer, or keeping my heart rate up longer, in return, I will get more in terms of results.
During the holiday season, I don’t think about this with gift giving as much as the exchange of holiday cards. Specifically, I realize I get very few holiday cards and it comes back to the fact that I send even fewer. Here’s why…..
I’ve noticed that most people that send out holiday cards are those with a spouse. Yes, at my age, that is the majority of the population but there is more to this idea. I love the nearly married couple that sends out their first Christmas card with fond memories of their wedding highlights. The pictures of the couple are stunning and the love is fresh and quite palpable. That being said, I’m single. I don’t have a great partner to stand next to me with coordinating colors and an enduring smile. Sure, I could send out a picture collage of my year, but Facebook and Instagram help me do this already. The people I would send a holiday card have probably already heard my news- at least that’s what I tell myself. In fact, I think there has been a down turn in sending out holiday cards because there are so many other forums to keep in touch.
Another reason why I don’t send out cards is that I don’t have kids (or pets). Offspring make for a catchy card! I love photos of families wearing matching hues and I often wonder how many takes it took to capture the Christmas card photo. Some friends recently posted some funny outtakes of their photo sessions on Facebook and the reality of the situation is clear! Taking these photos even in the digital age of cameras must be a struggle.
Finally, I’m lazy. I’ve never worked on an impressive Excel sheet with the addresses of my friends/family. This probably relates to my first point related to being single. Most people I know have a robust mailing list that relates to their wedding invites. The point is, for me, acquiring addresses would be an added chore. In the end, I get about three holiday cards a year, for which I am super grateful – almost a dead even return to the amount I give.
So what’s my point? My point is to think how often this simple equation applies to nearly every area of life. If you are not fully satisfied by outcomes, results, and products of your life equation I encourage you to think if you could give more to get more. Certainly there are situations that won’t apply such as uncontrollable health issues, or a dead end job, but I think this saying may help you center yourself in other controllable situations. When one day I thought, “I don’t get many Christmas cards this time of year”I quickly told myself, “You get what you give, Donielle!” In my opinion, we do frequently get what you give in life and if we don’t we may need to reconsider what we think we give and to what or to whom we give. As 2016 comes to a close, I challenge all of us to balance our own equation as needed to bring us into an equilibrium for 2017. Ultimately I hope that, at the very least, you got what you gave in 2016.