Dec 22, 2015 · 4 minute read

By: Colleen Valles

I need to take my own advice.

My big brother helpfully pointed that out when he suggested I read this blog post after receiving a somewhat whiny e-mail from me saying I had run out of time and ideas and couldn’t possibly do what we had all agreed on for my parents’ Christmas gift.

The reason I “ran out of time” was I had scheduled a trip to Yosemite National Park for the weekend before Christmas.


I mean, it’s not like I’m not in a total rush every year the weekend before Christmas. That’s when that final panic grips me, and in a cold sweat I remember that I have less than seven days to buy and wrap and bake everything I’m going to buy and wrap and bake on top of working full-time. It’s when I start listening to Christmas music full blast and as fast as I can, determined to wring every last ounce of joy from the holiday season as I rush around and stress out.

Surprise! This weekend before Christmas was the exact same. Except this time I was in a place with spotty cell coverage and limited wifi on the very last day that I could order something and have it arrive in time for the holiday.

Did I mention that I’m an awesome planner? Yeah, super-great. Totally.


I should have said no when my friend asked me in October if my daughter and I wanted to go on this weekend. I had a vague inkling at the time that that’s what I should have done, but I couldn’t really pinpoint why, so I said yes. My daughter really wanted to go since we hadn’t been there in over a year.

So I went, and here’s what that meant for me:

I didn’t get to put together the gift for my parents. My brother did it, and it came out way better than I could’ve done it, so it was a blessing, but still. I hate to pawn off work.

I didn’t pick up my rug from drycleaners. Small thing, but it is so. damn. difficult. to get to that cleaners! So now I have nothing to tie the room together. Heh.

I spent waaaaaaay too much money. Sure, it’s the wilderness, but we were in the little camp village in a cabin. Food, lodging and gas add up.

I didn’t get to spend time working on a writing assignment that I need to finish, or to start the one I’m supposed to be working on. Now I have to find more time during the mornings and evenings and weekends that has already been accounted for.


However, it wasn’t all bad. Far from it. I mean, I got to spend the weekend in Yosemite. Here’s what else that meant for me:

I got to play in the snow with my daughter. We’re in the middle of a big ol’ drought here, and snow has been hard to come by the last couple of years, so this was a special treat. My daughter still loves building snowmen, throwing snowballs and making snow angels, and I do too.

I enjoyed time with friends. Catching up, chatting, playing board games, hanging out by the fire … it’s a great way to spend time with good friends, and that’s what we did.

I relaxed. Once I resigned myself to going, I had fun and relaxed. Being out of cell service meant I couldn’t do much except concentrate on the people I was with and what I was doing. It forced me to be present, which is what we all need once in a while.

I got to see Yosemite. Dude. Have you seen Yosemite? Everywhere you look, it’s a perfect picture. The place is majestic and rugged and inspiring and overwhelming in its beauty. If you can, go there. This, perhaps, is the best advice I have to give anyone.

So yes, I’m way more behind now, and you’re right, I should have said no. But I went, and I got to spend time with my daughter and friends in a beautiful place.

Life is all about making memories, and in the end, this was a pretty good one.

Enjoy your holiday, and I hope you get a chance to relax with the people you love.


Colleen Valles
I'm Colleen, a writer, mother, knitter, pet mama and tiny house enthusiast who truly believes that everybody should slow down and simplify to make room for the things that are most important in their lives. I'm on a journey to do just that, to be able to spend more time with family and friends, riding my bike and working in the garden. Sign up to get awesome content right in your inbox, or follow me on social media.