Every year since we’ve lived in our house, I have done May Day baskets for all of our neighbors and friends who live nearby. I go all out, and I’ve chronicled each May Day on this blog (here and here and here). But this year, I didn’t do it. I didn’t want to do it, I didn’t even try.
Too much going on is the grossest understatement ever. I just didn’t have it in me. I put a lot of time and thought and effort into each basket. I make sure each person has a special thing; I personalize each basket from colors to flowers to candy to toys for kids/grill rubs etc. I love doing it. It’s a way to be creative and thoughtful and I feel the most me when I’m doing things like this. But this year, doing it would have been a chore. It would have been hard, and I just wouldn’t be into it.
I thought about it for a few days. I had purchased baskets a few months ago, so we had those, but I thought about why I’d be doing May Day this year. It was because it was expected. It had become a sort of tradition. I didn’t want people to think something was wrong with me or think I was upset with them. But I wouldn’t be doing it because it made me happy. Every other year, that’s why I do it. It brings me joy. This year, it would have had the opposite reaction; it would have been something that felt almost painful to do.
I asked my husband what he thought. I knew he’d be like, “Don’t worry about it,” and I don’t know why I asked. Truthfully, I had already made the decision – I just needed someone else to agree with the permission I gave myself. It’s important to be able to do that. To take a step back. Everything I do has a purpose and when it doesn’t, it’s not worth doing. That’s how I looked at May Day this year. No one is going to be traumatized they didn’t get a flower, chocolates and sidewalk chalk from one of their wacky neighbors. Life goes on.
I do think I’m going to make cupcakes for Cinco de Mayo however. I don’t have to, and I know this, but it’s a simple recipe I created a few years back that I know by heart. I think I’ll make a batch for my husband’s office and friends across the street. Not for all of the neighbors, not several batches. Just something that is easier and less time-consuming and super doable. At first, I thought about making it for everyone who would normally get a basket but then I took that step back. I haven’t done anything for my husband’s office – perhaps ever. Usually I would bake things a few times a year, but he has only been there a few months (at this location) and he is being promoted next month so he won’t still be at this location. So I figured just do it now, nothing fancy. There are only five people there, so divide the batch in half and there will be enough for him to take enough cupcakes for everyone to have two, and our neighbors across the street will also have at least that many. I wanted to make something for them because they’re such good friends and it’s good to appreciate the good people in your life. So I’ll do that tonight.
I’m hoping things get back to where small things don’t seem so huge. I’m still at the impasse I said I was at earlier this week. I’m sure I’ll still be there for a while. But I’m hoping in the next week, I’ll at least start moving away from that place. I can’t control what happens or others’ actions, but I hope things that need to happen do, commitments made are real and followed through. The impasse isn’t a dark space, it’s a gray one but it still lacks any light, any direction. Hopefully within the next week, I’ll see what looks to be a light and know which direction to head.
Until then, I’m going to keep giving myself permission to say, “No.” To set boundaries, to go easy on myself to the best of my ability. May Day might seem silly to people, but it was a deal to me, more than a lot of other holidays. It was the time every year I did something “big/special” for our neighbors. It was a big deal for me to let it go. To give myself permission not to do it. I hope can keep that particular behavior up. I hope things get better.
May Day used to ring in Spring/Summer for me. It made me happy. Maybe I’ll get there soon.