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Well, folks, it’s that time of year again. Tomorrow we’ll be sitting at the big table waiting for turkey and mashed potatoes to be passed our way. The annual televised Thanksgiving Day parades will be the backdrop as we wait for the Santa Claus finales and a cornucopia of insert ads with enticing “door busters” will be spread upon the coffee tables. The holiday season is kicking off before our eyes and a lot of us are asking, “How can it be here already? Wasn’t it just Halloween?” It seems the older I get, the faster this time of year sneaks up on me. With that, there is one important goal I plan to focus on this holiday season (and no, it’s not making sure I get up at 3 a.m. to be first in line outside a retail store early Friday morning). I have come to the realization that as I get older, I tend to spend more time thinking about the “good ol’ days.” I catch myself wishing I could go back and escape to certain times in my past when the holidays seemed a little more magical. Whether it be the time when my sisters and I made Christmas mornings start at 4 a.m., because we refused to sleep any longer knowing Santa had made a stop in our living room. Or the times when my dad read, “The Night Before Christmas” to us girls just before we fell asleep on Christmas Eve nights. Or even the times when staying up past midnight for Christmas Mass felt so adventurous. Although my mind makes these memories seem more magical than what they probably were at the time, I feel a sort of sadness that they aren’t happening any longer. It’s like they’re imprinted in my mind and tease me, because they never can be relived again. When I think that way, things start to seem dreary, and maybe that’s why they say the holidays can be the most depressing time of the year. I can’t help but think that I sometimes spend my holidays so wrapped up in a sort of nostalgia that I losing focus of “good times” happening to me that very moment. While I cherish my past memories and feel thankful that I got to experience those times, my goal this year is to switch my focus to the present. I hope to take more mental pictures of what will be the new “good ol’ days” in the future. The plan is to see and breathe as much detail around me as possible. I have to remember that my mind changes my memories over time. The happenings that seem ordinary today will somehow twist and churn into the new “magical times” in my future. More than likely, I’ll find my future self wishing for these times happening right now to come back, because my mind will make me believe these times were “easier” or “better.” A quick example to better illustrate: Today I’m wishing for the “good ol’ days” when counting down to Christmas with my mom and sisters was exciting and magical, because it meant we were getting one day closer to presents and Santa and that’s all I had to think about back then. In 10 years, I might be wishing for some of the good things I have right now that I haven’t put much thought into. My future self might look back and think, “Wow, you were so lucky in 2012 because you didn’t have to worry about playing Santa for all these kids and your mom was still in charge of Christmas dinner.” I’m sure my future self will again wish for the “good ol’ days” of 2012. For now, I have to realize that we are consistently making the “good ol’ days,” whether we like it or not, so we have to just make the best of right now and not get bogged down when comparing today to yesteryear. It’s a life pattern that I’m learning to just roll with.