It seems the older I get, the more the holiday season weighs on me. My parents and brother left a couple of days ago and, as usual, it broke my heart. Family means everything to me and I am so grateful that they are all in my life. My brother and I had conversations on my balcony while snowflake die-cuts and strings of tinsel summon somber reflections on all the things that have not worked out as planned in 2018 which in the end, is all okay. My friend brought over twinkly lights to outline my windows and get this special Christmas feeling. More conversations, more love, more light, more everything.
My initial reaction to the lights and decorations was warmth, comfort, and family without linking it to the particularly challenging year I had been through. I am still without a job in December, arguably the worst time of year to be without a steady paycheck and too busy cursing at my pending job applications and LinkedIn inbox to feel anything remotely close to gratitude. The preceding months of 2018 had overflowed with life’s lemons, and I did not want to make more lemonade so I stopped. I actually resolved to obsessively seethe in the darkness over all the things that were going wrong in my life and appreciated the bright twinkle lights that interrupted my plans to feel sorry for myself.
With all the people I love around, I suddenly felt so much gratitude for the life I built for my son and I. We have limited support but we make it work – and even make it comfortable when my family is visiting. My apartment was full of the items we needed and held plenty of the things we love. I am blessed to have my family and friends to lean on, which is most important to me.
“Do we have to take the shiny, beautiful lights down after Christmas, “my son asked the other day. “Well, if they make you happy, let’s keep them up, ” I replied, not questioning the speed with which my skepticism had turned to devotion. My son loves those shiny lights and turning them on became a delightful nightly ritual. For some reason, they also make me feel less agitated and more inspired in these cold, dark, gloomy month of winter in Canada. I have this feeling that they have to keep glowing until I find a job, either in this country or anywhere else distracting me from all the irrational reasons I have in my mind why things take longer than expected. My family reminded me to ruminate less on what is going wrong, but rather on what I can focus more and on all the things I already have to be grateful for since every moment spent in that kind of presence is a moment worth celebrating.
I had to say goodbye to my family at the airport. Did I cry? Sure did but I had my friend with me who is the best support I could ask for. Crying is fitting though, I suppose, since tears have at times felt like glue: tears of laughter, of stress, empathy, love, support, help, sadness and so much more. Everybody has their own routines and rituals but it is good to share emotions. Whatever anybody feels and to enjoy them fully is to traverse the emotional chasm that typically separates human being. With this in mind, it is important to chip away at things that are not important and to focus on stuff that truly matters to me. With my family, I do not have to give the impression that it is all good, even if it is not. They simply have to look at me and know anyway. I knew it was time to escape this morbid loop of lies and mistrust I was stuck in and did not make any real or tangible progress in life. I know that I do not have to jazz my life up for display purposes only because many things cannot be captured in a post for an invisible audience while desperately waiting for “views” or “likes”. It is important to realize that decorating our masks will not improve how we look underneath.
We all have been hurt by someone we care(d) about. The pain of what they did is one thing but this feeling of betrayal is another. Letting down my guard was a mistake but a valuable learning experience and life lesson that I apply for the future. People who hurt us also teach us. I rather focus my energy on people who deserve it. I know I won’t receive an apology at this point because certain individuals may not even think they did something wrong. Apparently, everyone always has the best intentions. It all does not matter anymore. What is important is that I am able to move forward in my life without dragging the past along with me.
With this being said, I wish all my readers a Happy, Healthy New Year. Let’s all start it in style. Thank you for reading my blog and purchasing my book.
Stay tuned for a bunch of projects and changes on the blog in 2019.