The psychological condition that precludes me from total vacation relaxation has not abated this year. In fact, I believe that I have created more projects for myself than I could accomplish. Granted, some of the projects may appear to be relaxing; reading a huge stack of magazines (the fact that many of them contain Halloween recipes should tell you how far behind I am), having my friend Suzanne teach me how to knit (tomorrow...can't wait). Still, they are on the "to do" list (and none of them are home improvement projects, so there). And I have been checking e-mail throughout my time off. I know, I should be better about disconnecting. But at the same time, I have viewed this break from the office as an opportunity to get caught up on some stuff. And I have done a little of that. Not enough to rid me of that slightly panicky, why-did-I-commit-to-all-this-stuff feeling in the back of my mind, but enough so that I don't have an actual physical sensation when I walk by my home office. Did I mention that I am a total head-case? I thought I did.

What I have done this holiday season is a ton of shopping. And I have convinced myself that it was warranted (Chloe? On sale? Yippee!). And I have a big bag full of stuff from multiple shopping trips, tags still on, taking up space in my bedroom. Some people derive a sense of accomplishment from collecting things. Me? I like the sensation of newness; the novelty of wearing something for the first time or discovering that it looks great with something I have owned forever and considered giving to Goodwill. I like putting together an outfit and then adding one things that "goes" but doesn't "match". You might think of it as vanity; I prefer to think of it was Darwinian; without the reproduction part (sorry to disappoint; my family already knows; no babies in this household). Anyway, see how I totally justified shopping as something I do because I am a mammal? Yeah, that is the kind of stuff I spend my vacation time thinking about. See why I don't have time to relax?

New this year was also allowing friends to celebrate my birthday. I'm not sure why I have typically been embarrassed by the prospect of this. I kind of agree with Rory. I didn't have much to do with the birthing part. I kind of just sat (sat? really?) there and then got really pissed because I was cold and the lights were bright and a bunch of people were staring at me and all I could see was up their noses. I couldn't even keep up my end of the conversation at that point. So the purpose of celebrating the day when you are your most inept? You know, just drooling and pooping and stuff, doesn't make sense to me. Except that I figured out this year that it really doesn't have to be all for me, and that I need to let people be nice to me. Having a b-day the day after Christmas gave me a great excuse for not letting people celebrate it. I could say no and then not feel badly about the fact that I NEVER remember anyone's birthday (and have to look at a calendar to know when Thanksgiving falls each year...a Thursday, I think?). Anyway, this year, I let myself enjoy my birthday and it was good. See all the introspection that results from a crappy year (never to be mentioned here again once the calendar strikes 1.1.08)? Let's call that progress.

In the interest of putting 2007 behind me, I do have one project that has been looming and today is that day to git 'er done. I returned from Ohio this fall with our family pictures (and a bunch of cheese, but that is another story). For whatever reason, having copies of our family photos is important to me. This year, I've been able to reconnect with my family in a way that was really impactful. As much as I have always felt that I have been on my own, I missed that sense of where I came from (remember the teary high school reunion? Yeah, that's what that was all about). They say that you can't go home again, but what they really meant is that you can, but it hurts. And stop being such a wimp about it. So anyway, those trips home led to some conversations that really made me think about what I am doing here (yeah, like, on earth) and whether I have really been honest with myself about what I want and what I am willing to do to get it (like stop being such a chicken). And start investing time in people I care about and stop pretending that I need to do this all on my own. Hey, it's like therapy but without the judgment and the bill. Geez, I'm almost in the domain of tacky new years' resolutions (or worse, Dr. Phil) but I won't go there. I'm more of an evolution than resolution gal. Work in progress, etc. Anyway, the people in my life that made me feel like a superstar are gone now. And I have this huge pile of pictures that need to be scanned. And I am already upset thinking about it. But it's important so I am doing it today. And I'm not sure why I just shared all that (it's kinda cathartic though). But I am having a little problem with insomnia so let's just blame that, shall we? I want to get it done before the new year starts. I need a New Year, not just a new year. And that's that.

I'll blog something work-related soon. Blogging the personal stuff, at least this time, was my feeble attempt at work-life balance. It is vacation time that I am taking after all.