Next Year’s Christmas Present (to myself)


While I was creating the traditional Christmas Feast this week, I thought about many things, especially the following three:

Number one: This is a lot of  f*#$@!! work.

Number two: I am tired of doing all this  f*#$@!!  work.

Number three: Why do I keep doing this every  f*#$@!!  year?

The matriarch of the family is stuck with responsible for all that is Christmas. She is expected to feed everyone, on every major holiday. I loved cooking all day and watching my family play games and have fun with each other. I am so over that now.     

This matriarch wants to play, have fun, and relax for a change. Sit in a cushy chair knitting, while listening to the stories her children tell each other about their lives. Take a nap for an hour when the younger set does (i.e., while everything is quiet).

Two of our three children have not invited us over for holiday festivities. Ever. I imagine it never occurred to them to do so, since they have not invited us over – period.  Wait – I take that back.  They did host a family BBQ once in the summer of 2009.  They did a fabulous job too.  I know that they could out-do my Turkey Loco recipe, which, BTW,  uses a grill, where real men cook.

Don’t tell anyone, but I think I’m wearing out. I just can’t do it anymore.  I hate that I’m weaker physically now, and have “chronic conditions” requiring a plethora of prescriptions and doctor appointments. I’m way too young to be this OLD!

So, dear kids…  Consider this your advanced notice: I’m going to take the year 2013 off.

Feel free to use our kitchen/BBQ, but Thanksgiving and Christmas feasting (traditional or not) will have to be coordinated and prepared by anyone but me.

If a feast does not get coordinated, do not expect me, in the eleventh hour, to whip one together.

Just saying.  😉


On My Naughty List: Santa

I am fed up with that jolly fat man!

In the past few years I’ve written him letters, asking nicely for very little.  He knows I’ve been good (as I always am), and yet nothing from my list shows up under the tree. It used to, along with one or two wonderful surprises. Not anymore. He left me a 6-pack of underwear.

My stocking had two spatulas in it.  I wish I was kidding.  Is he trying to tell me something, or are spatulas the “new coal”?  Did I offend him somehow?  What went wrong?

Bottom line – I miss being spoiled and I HATE being taken for granted.  I feel like whining, hollering cuss words and stomping my foot. I managed to control my self in front of my granddaughters, but my eyes were swimming in tears for a bit.  I didn’t realize how much I wanted this new “toy”, until I didn’t get it. My disappointment lingers, but I adjusted to reality rather quickly in spite of that 30-minute tantrum watch. I still had a day of  fun with my family.

That’s what the Christmas Spirit is really about anyway. Love and Family.  The “toys” are only perks. 😉

~ A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! ~

Preparing for Retirement: Know Who You Are

Not Pretending is proud to introduce our first Guest Author: Boyd Lemon.

Boyd Lemon is the author of Retirement: A Memoir and Guide (2012), which guides readers on the path to a happy and fulfilling retirement.


Planning for Retirement: Know Who You Are

By Boyd Lemon

To live a happy and fulfilling retirement, you must discover a passion to pursue, something to do that provides a purpose for your life.  You cannot discover your passion unless you know who you are.  Most of us have heard the famous command attributed to Socrates, “Know thyself.” However, have you struggled, as I did, to understand exactly what he meant, or, like many, did you promptly forget it after the final exam in Philosophy 101? Socrates may have meant something different from the modern equivalent that I have heard most of my life: know who you are, be who you are—in question form, do you know who you are? Even the modern version of the question sounded, like much of philosophy, especially this “new age” stuff, too vague and complicated to understand. A few years ago I got it. I don’t remember how or what the circumstances were, but the answer hit—and turns out to be quite simple when you get a little more specific.

Knowing who you are essentially means knowing what, to you, is important and what unimportant, knowing what makes you feel that you are doing something worthwhile, what you like and dislike, what interests you and what does not, what you want out of life, and what makes you happy, fulfilled, competent, esteemed, sad, frustrated, angry, or inadequate. It is knowing those needs and wants and dislikes that make you a unique human being, different from anyone else.

One would think that, by the time we reach retirement age, we would know who we are. Most of us don’t. We have been accommodating other people and various situations for so long that who we really are has been buried beneath the surface of the someone else that we have been trying to be—what society, schools, employers, spouses, friends and others have demanded of us. The real, authentic person is not dead, just dormant. We must know and revive this authentic person to lead a fulfilling retirement.

I knew, but could not articulate, who I was when I was a small child, before authenticity was drummed out of me. When I watched my two-year-old grandson, there was no doubt in my mind that he knew exactly what was important to him, what he liked and disliked, what interested him and what did not, what made him happy, and so forth. Between the age of two and retirement, most of us lose that knowledge of who we are. We take on responsibilities to others and forget about our responsibility to ourselves. As a result, as we approach retirement age, many of us have no idea what we want out of life or what truly appeals to us.

The idea of experiencing life like a two-year old sees it with the maturity of one who has lived for six or seven decades is glorious beyond belief, and it is within our grasp.

For me the process of discovering the authentic me wasn’t easy, and it didn’t happen quickly. It took time and effort, and that effort never ends. Part of the wonder is that we continue to learn new things about ourselves as long as we keep trying. Once we know who we are, to be fulfilled, we must love and accept ourselves for exactly who we are and not resist.


Thank you Boyd, for your contribution, and the day off!

🙂  J