This time of year is a vital part of our annual mental health and equilibrium. If you do not live near family or see them regularly, it is good to try to make arrangements to gather at some time during the holidays. It doesn’t have to be on the official holiday itself, sometimes a date near the celebration is often just as good. Visiting on a day before or after a holiday can take off the pressure of trying to have everything perfect just because it’s a holiday.

If you come from a high-strung background, or a life that offered much drama, a date near an event is often a better choice. It allows everyone to be a little bit more laid-back and relaxed. We have to remember it’s not a number circled on the calendar that makes something great, it is time spent with friends and family.

We think of family as the people, related or not, who accept us as we are, and can be themselves around us. No matter how many miles from family members we may be, we stick up for each other and have each other’s backs. Our family is comprised of those who care about us, worry about us, will be first to warn us if they think we are going in the wrong direction, and through acts of genuine love, sometimes get on each other’s nerves. Yet that’s okay, it is what family is all about.

Families sometimes move in different directions. Over time new members come and old members, due to reasons beyond anyone’s control, will move on or fall out of our lives. We remember those who have gone before us and cherish the additions. We hold places in our hearts for all of them, because we are family.

This year be kind to everyone in your family, especially those who wear on your nerves. And remember to smile a lot. It makes everybody wondered what you’re up to.

Thanks for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Author: Mike Balof

A retired Air Force Master Sergeant, Mike used to lay in bed at night and worry about what would happen if his plant closed or found himself without a job. One day his plant closed. Rather than panic and hysteria (OK, maybe a little) Mike found himself carried away on the adventure of his life. Mike started with the best job he ever had working at Home Depot. He spent 8 years working with job seekers at a local workforce center, helping them to find employment. He then started his own company developing courses, writing books and urging others to follow their own paths into the future. Mike holds a Master of Arts in Adult Education and Training and a Bachelor of Business Management, earned through the University of Phoenix and an AAS degree in Electronics Systems Technology from the Community College of the Air Force. Mike is a member of the Delta Mu Delta Business Honor Society.

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