Just like many other kids, I wanted nothing to do with my family from the age of 14 to about 21. I had all sorts of assumptions about their beliefs that clashed with my new liberal thinking and emo starving artist idealism.
I saw family time as time spent away from friends, and with a serious case of FOMO like mine, I counted the moments until it was over. Not to mention, with all my prior assumptions, I picked conversations apart to confirm my every belief. They’ll never get me, I thought. (Classic confirmation bias.)
When I graduated college and my family, all on their own, threw me a big party, a big shift occurred. Wait, I can drink a beer with them, and hang out, and see eye-to-eye, and talk more than just family surface stuff?
It was a big lesson for me.
Turns out they actually did accept me for who I was and had only pushed me one way or another because they cared for me. There was much less judgment than I’d projected.
They were actually cool. I mean, still–more than a decade later–they are cool.
Our Greats did done good, because our clan turned out alright. We’re fun, we’re funny and we’re good looking;) Go figure.
I just left our annual Field Family Christmas Party, a tradition that began 60 some odd years ago. There’s food and festivities and a pageant and singing and Santa. Trust me, it’s as ridiculously awesome as it sounds.
And it has become one of my favorite days of the year. Even trekking the 4-hour drive from NYC, I wouldn’t miss it.
Family is tricky. I know many people dread the holidays because co-mingling with extended family can get dicey, on a dime.
That’s why we check in on reality TV though right? To make sure there’s a family more dysfunctional than ours.
And … BOOM … there they are! Confirmation before the commercial break.
For what it is, her are some tactics I’ve picked up at family parties, work parties, dive bars, and 3 AM 7/11 runs (it’s all the same, right?):
*We certainly don’t all agree on the hot topics. So we don’t bring them up. Just. Don’t. Do. It.
*Don’t like a conversation? Walk away: bathroom, food, drink, baby, “Is that my phone?” … get out quick.
*Grownups, too boring or serious? Hang out with the kids; they’re generally much more sane.
*Gossip game? Don’t get sucked in. It’s tough but one of my fave lines, JK will appreciate this, “I don’t really have an opinion on that.” Done.
*Sloppy drunk/ugly crying/you’re-not-even-gonna-remember-this-advice-in-the-morning time suckage? Use above escape route.
*Feeling the stress of the mayhem? Try my fave: the Irish dip. Alcohol induced or not, dip out. Take a walk, a nap, just roll. No goodbyes, no excuse necessary. Peace, Bitches.
Text them later. Pro tip: Diarrhea excuses everything.
*Got a crazier family than that? Call me, we’ll do an intervention;)
I leave you with this: The only person you can ever change is you. Not your immediate family? Not my circus, not my monkeys;) #nuffsaid
Day 6 kindness:
*I kept my badgering at Elisa to a minimum this morning even though she was moving slow as molasses as I was trying to get out the door.
*I was super mindful to other drivers on the road and didn’t yell at my GPS (a constant practice).
*I tipped the gas station attendant a few extra dollars than normal and wished him a happy holidays. I love this time of year for a good excuse to do that.
*I let the lady go in front of me at Starbucks because she seemed all in a hurry, but when she ordered a coffee latte I judged her … so maybe this one doesn’t count, lol.
Kat Hurley is a transformational author, speaker and personal development coach, making over motivation @The Year of Magical Dreaming. For the full 411, visit kathurley.com, yo!