What Christmas Doesn’t Mean to Me and My Plan for the New Year

What Christmas Doesn’t Mean to Me and My Plan for the New Year

I’m certain that the majority of the blogs you’re following right now are talking about Christmas and New Year’s and reflections in 2020.  While I think we can all agree that the label “dumpster fire” is pretty fitting for 2020, I want to share a couple of lessons I’ve learned only recently as well as my plan for 2021.  First, a quick disclaimer, some of this episode may be triggering for you, and know that these are my thoughts and opinions which you may not share and that’s completely ok.  Having said that, let’s jump in.

With COVID-19 cases still on the rise, Chad and I made the tough decision to stay home for Christmas.  This brought out the emotional big guns for everyone involved ranging from disappointment to anger to understanding.  In the last month, I’ve had several family members and friends test positive – one of which passed away the week of Thanksgiving – and so we figured if there was ever a year to stay put, it’s this one.  Honestly, I have to admit that a big part of me feels relieved that we are staying home because it’s taken the pressure off having to appease everyone.  There have been several years where Chad and I have attended between 7 and 9 different Christmas gatherings and I know this is not uncommon for a lot of families.  Especially when you have divorced parents or grandparents.

Since we aren’t traveling and still want our time together to feel special, I came up with a list of possible Christmas plans.  Admittedly, most of it revolves around food but all that means is we will have a great many leftovers for the days that follow.  We’re going to make monkey bread for Christmas Eve breakfast, king crab legs and filet for dinner, better swim biscuits and gravy for Christmas morning breakfast, and shrimp and salmon for dinner.  BTW, if you haven’t tried better swim biscuits, here’s the recipe, trust me, they will change your life!  We’re also going to make some candy, watch a plethora of movies, work on a puzzle, play video games, and go for a couple of walks.  Oh!  And we’ll do all of this while wearing our Christmas jammies.

I know there are many of you who want nothing more than to spend the holidays with your families because you love being together and they are a joy to be around.  It’s easy, relaxing, and full of fun.  And for that, you are truly blessed.  I also know there are many of you who are weighed down by the anxiety that comes with the holidays.  Last Friday, I was interrogated by a former lawyer/law professor friend of mine about what Christmas means to me.  And I have to tell you that being blindsided by the question I panicked and my answer was slightly rage-filled.  Ok, it was totally rage-filled.  Here’s what I said.  “It’s easier to answer the question by telling you what I think Christmas is not about – it’s not about every family member getting a new vehicle, it’s not about everyone getting a new gaming console.  It’s not about racking up massive amounts of debt just so you can “give your kids a good Christmas.”  It’s not supposed to be filled full of obligations that you had no choice in making nor want to participate.  It’s not about spending time with family members who make you feel bad about yourself or who just really don’t like you.

If you’ve been waiting for someone to validate your feelings and/or give you permission to just say no, here it is.  Honestly, you don’t need my permission nor anyone else’s in order to take care of yourself and your mental health.  Nor do you need my permission to make decisions for your family.  What I do want you to consider though is that just because someone shares DNA with you doesn’t mean you owe them anything.  There are many people in the world whose families are not blood relatives.  Have you ever had a family member try to guilt you into doing something you don’t want to do because “blood is thicker than water?”  Well, people have been misquoting that for years.  The actual quote is “the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.” The meaning of this saying is actually the opposite of the way we use it. The saying actually means that bonds that you’ve made by choice are more important than the people that you are bound to by the water of the womb. The saying reflects the fact that the bonds you choose for yourself can mean much more than the ones you don’t have much say in.  So the next time someone tries that out on you, you can let them know that actually, that’s not true.

Whew!  That felt like a big ol’ brain dump if I’ve ever heard one.  It may seem like I completely hate Christmas but don’t get me wrong.  I don’t.  I just hate how the holidays can bring so many folks so much stress and anxiety and for what?  If you are one of those people, my advice to you is to sit this one out.  Global pandemic aside, you don’t have to spend your holidays with anyone you don’t want to.  And, you don’t have to give anyone full disclosure that you don’t want to.  I simple, “thank you for the invitation but we’re not going to be able to make it this year” will suffice.  Let’s move on to New Years!

First of all, I want to share with you this Irish New Year’s Eve tradition that I came across.  I have no idea if it’s actually true, but I think it’s awesome anyway.  Supposedly, at the stroke of Midnight, they open their front doors as a way to let the old year out and the new year in.  I freaking love the symbolism of this!  In fact, I may just open every single door and window in my house to make sure that 2020 has left for good!  Second, I’ve been really thinking about my personal growth for the upcoming year and how to be more intentional with my time.  I don’t know about you, but after the shitshow that was 2020, I’m so ready to move on.  It seems like at least once a week I tell Chad that we watch entirely too much television and it wouldn’t hurt us to read more books.  So that’s what I’m doing.  I have rekindled my romance with the library and have been checking out books and actually reading them.  I’ve set a goal for myself to read 50 books in 2021 – I know, I know, that’s pretty lofty but when I think about how much time I spend in front of the TV I think I can accomplish it.  So if you have any book recommendations I’d love to hear them!  Next, I spend a lot of time helping others figure things out and so 2021 is the year for me to spend some time on myself trying to figure things out in my own life.  Things like, what brings me joy?  What doesn’t?  And finding ways to be in a deeper relationship with God.  As I’ve mentioned in previous episodes, I’m a big fan of therapy and I will continue on that journey for the foreseeable future.  It has truly been so helpful these past 5 months.  Let’s be clear, therapy is not for the faint of heart – it requires a lot of self-reflection and the digging up of past experiences and trauma which can be draining in the moment but ultimately empowering.  And the last thing I want to share about the upcoming year is the pivot I’m making in my business.

I think I mentioned a couple of episodes ago that I was considering changing the name of this blog/podcast.  I came to this decision after working with a personal brand coach who told me that the word “adulting” is just too vague because it can mean different things to different people.  While this was something I hadn’t considered before, I totally get it.  Plus, no one in real life calls me CJ, aside from some of my former students so that just doesn’t make sense either.  A while back I reached out to a few folks who know me best and asked them to give me ten words that best describe me and the most common phrase was “gets shit done.” So, I’m leaning toward Getting Shit Done with Kamron.  Haven’t totally decided on that yet, but I’m really digging it, and here’s why.

In 2021 I am offering my services to those nonprofit leaders and other entrepreneurs who are stuck in their businesses and need help with administrative tasks, which they need in order to grow.  I will do one-on-one coaching, intensive training of their newly hired admins or support staff, or for those who haven’t hired anyone yet, I will set up a personalized system that they can hand off to whomever that person may be.  In other words, I’m helping them get shit done so I thought it was only fitting for my show to be called that as well.  One thing I learned in 2020 is that I cannot produce this blog weekly, so I’m moving to releasing episodes every other week.  Some of the upcoming topics include why routines are a good thing, how to ask for help, and my top 5 tools for getting organized.

Finally, I want to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed having you all as readers.  I appreciate every one of you who has left ratings and reviews and I hope you’ve been able to take away some pearls from these last 26 episodes.  My original word for 2020 was momentum, but I really think it ended up being metamorphosis because I’ve grown much more in this year than ever before.  And I believe that has happened in part through the love and support you have shown me.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you for coming on this journey with me.  I hope that you can find some comfort and peace during this chaotic time of year and I love you all.

Episode 26: What Christmas Doesn’t Mean To Me and My Plans for the New Year

In this final show of 2020, I’m sharing my thoughts about what Christmas doesn’t mean to me as well as my ideas for 2021.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • What Christmas is going to look like at our house
  • Blood is not thicker than water and what the quote really means
  • A New Year’s Eve tradition
  • How I’m pivoting my business for 2021

Resource mentioned:

Butter Swim Biscuit Recipe

Connect with Me:

Please leave a Rating and Review:

If you enjoyed this episode, I would really appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to do a review on Apple Podcasts.  Reviews on Apple Podcasts are one of the best ways to get the word out about podcasts.

 

What to Expect at Your First Mammogram

What to Expect at Your First Mammogram

Today, I want to share my first mammogram experience with you and what you can expect on your visit.

In case you didn’t know, women 40 and over should begin screening mammograms once a year, unless they’ve had a family history of breast cancer or tested positive for the BRCA gene in which case your doctor will suggest you start getting mammograms earlier than 40.  Screening mammograms are just that, a screening of your breast tissue.  Should those images come back with something troubling, then you’ll have a diagnostic mammogram done to take a different look.

In my case, I chose to go to a diagnostic imaging center, meaning they do all sorts of screenings.  However, you may feel more comfortable going to a breast care clinic – they still do the same testing, but they only do breasts as opposed to all body parts.  Regardless of where you go, you want to choose a place where the employees are concerned about you as the patient rather than their bottom line.  I was pleasantly surprised by how well the Diagnostic Imaging Center prepared me before my visit.  They gave me a list of dos and don’ts as well as a video of what to expect.  For example, you should not wear deodorants or lotions the day of your scans because they look for calcium deposits and certain deodorants and lotions can skew the images.  They also suggested wearing upper body clothing that is easily disrobed.  The most important piece of advice, however, was to stay as relaxed as possible.

As you may have figured out by now, I tend to do most things in life through the lens of humor.  Laughter is the best medicine as they say.  I also tend to use humor to disarm people in tense or stressful situations.  Sometimes, all everyone needs is a good laugh.  So they took me back to a room where I locked up my personal belongings, changed into an upper body gown, and away we went.  The woman responsible for me was amazing.  She was very patient and answered my 10,000 questions.  She explained to me exactly what she was going to do, how the machine worked, and that she would be taking a total of four images, two on each side.  The most important advice she had was to breathe and stay as relaxed as possible.  She said that the more relaxed I was the easier it would be to get my placement just right in the machine which would make for the best scans possible.  My first instruction was to do something with my arm from the gown and I was like, can I just take it off?  I mean, the woman sees boobs all day long and I’m not shy.  So why wrestle with the gown thing when it’s just easier for everyone to be bare?  We get going and she’s telling me how to hold my arms and where to look so I don’t smack my forehead into the plexiglass and then she tells me a pretty good story about how one day she was placing a woman and somehow the woman moved, and she slipped and smacked the lady’s boob with the side of her face.  She apologized to the woman profusely and they both had a pretty good laugh about the whole deal.  All in a day’s work as a mammography tech, right?

You hear horror stories from women about how painful mammograms are, and maybe they were worse when technology wasn’t as good, but I didn’t feel any pain whatsoever with mine.  Pressure, yes.  Pain, no.  Once the scans were done, I went back to the changing room and waited for the radiologist to read the results and report back to me.  Fortunately, everything looked great and the results were classified as benign.  They gave me a short report that included my breast tissue type, my lifetime risk of breast cancer as estimated by the Gail Model which takes into account factors such as the age of your first period, race, pregnancies, etc.  You want that percentage to be under 10% and mine was 11.1%. The reason for this is based on the fact that I have no babies and I’m taking HRT or hormone replacement therapy.  This is why it’s important to have mammograms done on a yearly basis starting at 40.  Because everything was normal, the doctors now have a baseline scan in case something ever comes back abnormal.  Plus, regular mammography helps detect early signs of developing breast cancer so you can treat it right away rather than it growing completely out of control.  What can you do if you are under 40?  Give yourself regular self-breast exams.  The best place to do this is in the shower and what you’re looking for is anything unusual, lumps, bumps, etc.  And make sure you’re checking in your armpits too.  When I was working for the American Cancer Society one thing I found amusing was that quite often, men are the ones finding irregularities in the breasts of women…for obvious reasons, right?  For a while, Hooters hosted events for men that taught them what lumps could feel like which I thought was a brilliant idea and I hope they are still hosting those.

In all seriousness, I know that body part screening is scary to a lot of people.  They think if they don’t get screened then they can’t find anything wrong.  I also know that many people don’t have insurance to cover preventative treatments.  However, there are many organizations out there that can help with the cost of preventative measures and many hospitals host free screening days during certain times of the year.  For example, a lot of places hold free skin cancer screenings in the month of May.  Plus, there are many local healthcare places that operate on a sliding scale that’s based on your income.  Why am I telling you all of this?  Because you really have no excuse to not get your yearly check-ups.  Trust me, your friends and family want you around for as long as possible so don’t let fear keep you from taking care of your health.  And like I always say, you have to be your own advocate for your health because no one is going to do it for you.  Get your questions answered, push back on your doctors, and make them see you as a person, not a statistic.  Or do what I’m about to do and break up with doctors who give you terrible advice or treat you terribly.  Obviously, I’m willing to let a bit of bedside manner fall to the wayside for a doctor who is highly intelligent.  However, there’s lacking bedside manners and then there’s straight-up jackwagon.  You don’t have time in your life for a jackwagon.  Doctors are humans and sometimes they need a little reminder that they are in fact humans, as are you.  And in case you didn’t know, if you ever come across a doctor, nurse, or any staff that behaves badly, you can always report them to the customer service department of the hospital they work for, and in cases of extremely inappropriate behavior, a lawyer.  For the most part, I believe that doctors go into medicine because they want to help people but just like everyone else, sometimes life circumstances get in the way and all they need is a little nudge to remind them what they are there to do.

 

Episode 25: What to Expect at Your First Mammogram

Today I’m sharing with you my mammogram experience and what you can expect on your first one.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • Screening vs. Diagnostic mammogram
  • How to get the best scans possible
  • Why it’s important to get your yearly screenings
  • What to do if you don’t have insurance

Connect with Me:

Please leave a Rating and Review:

If you enjoyed this episode, I would really appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to do a review on Apple Podcasts.  Reviews on Apple Podcasts are one of the best ways to get the word out about podcasts.