Premier PT Nov./Dec. 2017

Nov/Dec 2017

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Do you have a favorite Christmas movie that you watch every year? At the top of my wife’s and my list is “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” It’s hilarious to watch Clark Griswold try and pull off the perfect Christmas, only to have it thwarted again and again by his relatives and his own obsession with perfection. He’s trying to have everything just right, but nothing works out for him. Still, at the end of the day, the family is gathered singing Christmas carols. Despite the blunders, they still find reason to celebrate. I turned 49 on Dec. 1, and as much as I dislike being reminded that I’m getting older, my mom dislikes even more having a son who’s almost 50. Being reminded of your age isn’t as fun after your 20s. Like Griswold, you want everything to be perfect, and age brings reminders that they are not. Injuries and surgeries don’t wait for the holidays to be over, and trying to get shopping done, put up decorations, and organize the perfect Christmas when we’re recovering is stressful. But you know what? Focusing on the negative parts of aging prevents us from appreciating everything that comes with it. I like to watch “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” because it reminds

me that life never goes according to plan, but that’s okay. In fact, it makes it more fun along the way. The chaos that ensues in the movie as Clark is trying to create the perfect Christmas underlines what happens when we forget what the holiday is truly about. It reminds us to accept things (and people) for what and who they are instead of trying to create a perfect reality that doesn’t exist. Let’s just enjoy what we have instead! When I watch “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” I remember that life’s not about being perfect. We all want things to be perfect, and unfortunately, that’s not realistic. If age has taught me anything, it’s the fact that the more we try to make things perfect, the more we lose sight of what’s important. Sometimes, everything goes according to plan. But often, nothing does. The tree falls over, the turkey is ruined, your in-laws drive you crazy, and the lights don’t work. But at the end of the day, life, especially around the holidays, is about spending time together and celebrating the season.

celebrate when it feels like there’s nothing to celebrate? Ask for help. Reach out to your family and friends. If you’re feeling blue around the holidays, lean on others. You’re going to miss people who aren’t around anymore. Those feelings don’t just disappear. If a loved one has passed, know they’re in a better place, and remember that our loved ones want us to be happy. Church is a good place to find comfort. Reach out to friends you haven’t talked to in a long time. Reminisce. Find joy in the imperfections. Our message to you is a simple but challenging one: Learn from Clark Griswold’s mistake and don’t try to make everything perfect. Instead, do the best you can without overdoing it. Try not to stress about the tasks beyond your control. Can you ask for help with decorating? If not, how important is it? If that set of Christmas lights doesn’t make it up on the roof this year, is Christmas still going to come? Yes, it will, and you can still enjoy the celebrations even if the decorations don’t look exactly like a movie.

Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, and have a fantastic, imperfect holiday.

I know this might sound impossible when you’re going through surgery or an injury. How can you

Chris Kopp PT

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