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GUS (Gave Up Smoking) is a community support diary for Kossacks in the midst of quitting smoking. Any supportive comments, suggestions or positive distractions are appreciated. If you are quitting or thinking of quitting, please -- join us!  We kindly ask that politics be left out.  

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Intro

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Okay, I had some really ambitious plans for this week's GUS diary, and even did a bit of research while I could, since next week will be in the middle of that pre-Christmas flurry of activity and I won't have a chance...but somehow, it never quite came together for me. Part of it was a busy weekend, and an even busier work week. Some of it was due to unavoidable family stuff, which happens when you have an immediate family bigger than the population of some West Texas towns.

And some of it comes down to my being in a spectacularly grumpy mood the other night, when I should have been writing.

This time of year is filled with good cheer for a lot of us (and I usually manage to find some of that good cheer myself, when I get a chance to take a breath and release myself from the obligation to be perfect and get everything done on time and under budget, with absolutely no misunderstandings, emotional blow-back, or train-wreck plans to interfere with the Holiday Perfection (TM) I had planned.

But for many of us, the time leading up to the holidays is fraught with doom and gloom. The days are so short. Our S.A.D. kicks in. Half of us have the flu, or at least a really irritating case of the sniffles, plus a persistent tension headache from all that juggling we end up doing to get stuff done on time. It kind of sucks.

But alas, we have to socialize, at home or at work or with friends and neighbors, when all we really want to do some days is curl up with a book or shiny magazine, or a game of Angry Birds, or the most mind-numbingly plot-free TV show or movie we can find, and tune it all out. We want to climb into bed and wait until it passes, so we can start fresh when the days are getting longer and brighter, instead of darker and drearier. We want to be left alone to stew in our own grumpiness, and do unhealthy things like eat raw cookie dough or chain-smoke, even if we don't actually follow through with those plans. We want to de-grumpify if and when we are good and ready, thank you very much.

There's something different this year, though. We may be grumpy---perhaps even HOLIDAY grumpy, which is a special, bedazzled, eggnog-soaked, jingle-bell-Muzak-from-Hell version of grumpy---but none of us can out-grump the reigning Internet Champion of Grump, Tardar Sauce the Grumpy Cat. She's on Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube; she has her own Meme Generator....heck, someone even got a tattoo of her face! She's freakin' EVERYWHERE.

And for some reason, she doesn't look all that thrilled about it.

See, that's the thing: you can be doing well, objectively speaking, getting lots of positive attention, having what should be a good time, getting support and encouragement and pats on the back (literally or figuratively) and you STILL might be feeling a little out of sorts. Or---dare I say it?---grumpy.

Some of us push the feelings down and just plow onward, knowing that the holidays are going to arrive whether we feel ready to enjoy them or not. We distract ourselves with tasks, or bury ourselves in work, or busy ourselves with doing things for others. And quite a few of us, deliberately or not, sort of forget to take good care of ourselves in the process. Maybe because we're stressed, missing folks who are no longer with us, or feeling overwhelmed by all that we have to do.

Many of us feel locked into celebrations we don't enjoy, rituals that don't mean much to us, or holiday routines that would make no sense if we attempted them at any other time of year (for example, trying to see two or three different groups of relatives over a very short period of time...or trying to see two or three feuding groups of relatives all at once in the same place). It's no wonder that some of us get our grump on right around Thanksgiving and don't let go of it until we ring in the New Year.

But y'know, at least some of this can be avoided, if you decide that it's okay to embrace change, let go of old routines that aren't working, and recognize that nobody (even uber-cheery Buddy The Elf) is super cheerful 24/7 this time of year. And this year, we have a furry little avatar of grump to remind us of that fact.

                                 

Who's your little buddy?
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