Next year at this time…
I will be putting up the Christmas tree, decorating with pine boughs, sipping L.A. Burdick hot chocolate, and signing Christmas cards.
I will be settled into a new home, in a new neighborhood, in a new city and state.
I’ll be making things my own with new furnishings, old favorites, and souvenirs from my travels.
I will be ready to entertain, and loving for people to come visit.
I’ll be a little bit more myself, and a little bit more than I’ve ever been.
I will be even better with another year under my belt, better at writing, better at photography, better at business, better at money management, better at life.
Next year at this time, I’ll look back at now as the time I got real.
I’ll have picked up old traditions that I still love, and let others fade into distant memories.
I can always pick up anything again that I want to.
That’s my consolation as my Christmas box sits in storage with everything else I had used to create a sense of “home.”
I thought I had left my heart in a 6′ x 10′ storage unit in suburban Ohio, but when I opened the garage door, I discovered I had had it all along.
My heart has been on a grand adventure across Europe and to many cities and states this year.
But mostly, it has simply opened.
It’s strange but looking into one’s fears and pains doesn’t make you hard, even though it makes you strong.
It opens you to a broader spectrum of feelings, and you begin to feel invincible.
The high that comes from facing the worst, far outweighs the facing of it. The high rules.
If I had been given the choice, before I knew what I was getting into, I’d like to think I’d choose the same.
Because every hardship I face, every time I falter, every, single time, I get better and better.
Next year at this time, I’ll be looking back at “a year ago,” thinking, “Holy smokes, what an amazing time.”
The time when I let go of so much that I thought defined me, and became even more than I was before.
When I decided to say, “Yes,” to whatever life threw at me, which felt like saying, “Yes,” to the adventure of life for the very first time.
When I decided to stop complaining, be willing to get my hands dirty, swallow my pride, stand up for what’s right, try to understand other people’s perspectives, and stop assuming I know anything about anything.
When I figured out that love comes in so many forms it’s ridiculous.
And that you can feel lonely even when you’re surrounded by people.
The storage unit seems small, distant, and insignificant compared to how vastly I’ve grown.
Yet, I cherish the thought of reaching into a box next year, pulling out strings of lights, and the special bulb I like to use as a topper.
In all I’ve seen in the world, there’s nothing like the light of the Christmas tree in your own home.
This year, I will really miss that light.