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Perspective: Insert a rest into this end-of-year symphony of stress

Rafael Garcin

The weak December sun keeps edging further away, and I imagine it needing an extended vacation with our Southern Hemisphere neighbors. Come to think of it so do I. Ah, but we have the end of year festivities to look forward to, right?

Well, let’s face it — alongside the holiday cheer we may be feeling a certain seasonal anxiety. Finding perfect gifts, getting them wrapped in time, juggling schedules, and the real tough one -- extended time with family members and those deep-seated behavior patterns we fall into. Intentional or not, buttons get pushed. And although I get tired of hearing it, I know I need to just take a breath sometimes.

In music notation there are rests - breathing spaces that can lead into a change of tone, melody, or even the key of the piece. So the next time I find myself in a conversation that shows signs of an impending cacophony, I’ll try inserting a rest note or two. It might give me a chance to tone down my response or even completely redirect the conversational piece.

I’ve thought of a few things I could say after that breath like - “Hey, I’ll give that some thought,” or “Before I forget, I wanted to tell you about ‘dot dot dot.’” Or maybe I’ll just point to the December day outside and suggest a nice walk.

I’m Paula Garrett and that’s my perspective.

Paula Garrett is a transplanted Southerner and a former WNIJ Blues host. She's passionate about music, travel, research, open water swimming and film.