The office was pretty quiet during the holidays. They used to shut down for two weeks but not this year. Not only are they closing the office down, they also switched systems to integrate with the parent company so we are training, closing out one system, transferring data to a new system and trying not to go completely insane while we’re at it.
There were about four of us sitting around one afternoon bitching about the situation when my boss said, “Only 25 more days and then it won’t be our problem.” We all laughed, but I asked, “Is it really 25 more days? Does anyone know for sure?” We all made a show of looking at our calendars, but I don’t think any of us really wanted to know for sure. Maybe, in that moment, it would have made it all too real, and there was also the possibility that it was actually more than 25 days.
Eventually, we all got back to work. About an hour later, my boss came out of her office with a huge smile, proudly holding up a paper chain. A paper chain! I can’t remember the last time I even thought about making one of those. We, of course, all had to have one so we spent the next thirty minutes or so writing dates on pieces of paper, folding them into circles and either taping or stapling them together. I think it ended up being more like 28 days (only counting working days) but within an hour, we all had paper chains stuck to our cubicles or office walls.
I’m pretty sure it’s the highlight of everyone’s day right now; tearing off one of those pieces of paper to signify one day closer to walking out the door and never looking back. I think we are all eager to move on to different things, perhaps better things.
But it got me to thinking tonight about how stressful situations can either lead us to pull our hair out and have a nervous breakdown, or we can let it all go and do something completely child-like. There is something so liberating about letting all the guards down and saying, “What the hell, I’m going to make a paper chain; I’m going to color in a coloring book with crayons; I’m going to eat ice cream for dinner; I’m going to make a snow angel and then I’m going to build a snowman, and after that, I’m going to drink hot chocolate with marshmallows in it and make snowflakes out of paper and hang them in the window.”
Here’s hoping we can all find more moments like these in our lives that aren’t stress-induced. Who cares what anyone thinks? Do something that makes you laugh out loud and just be happy. Life’s too short to spend it hurrying from one stressful situation to the next.
This post is part of Just Jot It January hosted by Linda G Hill.