‘Tis the time of year when everyone seems to come down with a case of the “I shoulds.”
You might have a case of it now!
How do you know if you have a case of the “I shoulds?”
The classic symptom is you find yourself thinking about what you should be doing right now as we round the corner to Christmas, the week in between, and then New Years Eve.
In more advanced cases, you might actually be speaking the “I shoulds” out loud to your family or anyone within earshot.
For example, you might be saying right now, “I should buy some poinsettias.” The fact that you haven’t bought a poinsettia by now, when we are just three days until Christmas, could mean one of several things.
It could mean you are a discerning purchaser of poinsettias and those you encounter as you enter the hardware store, the big box store, the grocery store, the club warehouse store, even the corner drug store, just aren’t quite what you want.
Or worse, no one has bothered to water them and they are wilting and drying up quickly and even at 50% off, they are no bargain.
(Insert pro-tip here. You can generally find the healthiest, biggest, most cared-for poinsettias at a local florist shop.)
Or it could mean that you know nothing looks more out of place than a poinsettia after the New Year and you’ve missed your window of opportunity to fully enjoy a poinsettia.
Unless you are a gardener, which I assume you are if you are reading this.
As a gardener you might suffer from a variant of the “I shoulds” related to over-summering your poinsettia and getting it to bloom again next Christmas. And by bloom, yes, I mean get the bracts to turn colors.
In rare cases, you might be that gardener who says “I should buy a poinsettia, but then where would I put it since I have so many other poinsettias blooming all over the house from last year and the year before, and there is that one from…” If you are that gardener, you are excused from buying more poinsettias.
There are many other symptoms of the “I shoulds” related to buying other holiday plants, winter garden care, gift-giving, Christmas decorating, baking, eating, drinking, and the opposite which is, “I should not eat another cookie or ten, not drink another drink or three.”
You see how it is? There seems to be no end to the list of “I shoulds” for both gardeners and non-gardeners around the holidays. Even for bloggers and writers! I should write a blog post about Christmas! I should send out an end-of-the-year newsletter! I should get started on my next book! (Well, I have started on my next book and I should tell you about it, but not yet.)
Whew. “Enough,” you say.
What is the cure?
Almost everyone will always have some symptoms of the “I shoulds.” It’s part of living and breathing and making choices about what you want to do.
But there is still hope.
You can tame your “I shoulds” with healthy doses of doing the activities you enjoy the most. Writing, reading, watching great old movies, putting together jigsaw puzzles, napping, preparing good food, gardening, and more. Then the minute you start a thought or sentence with “I should”, you counteract it with a hearty laugh, think less than five seconds about what happens if you don’t, and then return to your usual activities with no guilt, no remorse, and no regrets.
Or go ahead and do whatever that “should” is.
Now, some “shoulds” you should be doing.
You should be checking out the latest podcast episodes of The Gardenangelists and new this week, and maybe continuing if people like them, little snippet videos on YouTube of us recording the episodes. We call them Podcast Prunings. They are three minutes or less, each!
You should be wrapping presents, baking cookies, hunting down the perfect poinsettia, buying amaryllis bulbs, decorating your mantel, bringing in firewood for the fireplace, looking up recipes for the perfect side dishes for Christmas, checking on the garden with complete walks around your property, offering to take in other people’s poinsettias when they tire of them…
I kid. You should do whatever you want! (Except for the podcast and video “shoulds.” Those are still definitely something you should be doing!)