It’s Not All Holly and Jolly

We have officially reached the end of the Holiday season. And as I’m sure many of you saw on different social media sites, the holidays are not always happy and joyful for everyone.

This was true for me this year but it wasn’t consistent. I loved having time to simply be with my family. I enjoyed being able to make plans with friends and catch up with those I hadn’t seen in a while. I still immersed myself in the glow of the lights and the predictable cheesy-ness of Hallmark movies.

But on another level I felt it all differently. Just after my parents came to visit and help me put up my Christmas tree and decorate, I was struck with a thought that I couldn’t quite shake: “This is my first Christmas being divorced.”

This seemed a strange thought to be having because it wasn’t my first Christmas alone – the previous year I was separated from my husband, and the year before I was struggling to keep my marriage together. (It truly is amazing how much can change in a year.) But I suppose that despite being separated last year, despite being told that my husband loved someone else – somewhere in my heart I had still held out hope that he would once again choose me no matter how unlikely I knew it to be.

This year I found myself more introspective of the differences between spending the holidays with a significant other for so many years and finding myself in my mid-thirties spending it alone once again. Gone were the traditions we had established together. Gone were the ornaments that were from our first year married. Gone were the ornaments of our family because our family had been torn apart. Gone were the moments of coaxing someone into watching the corniest of Hallmark movies with me. Gone was the joy of sharing the gifts given to me by my high schoolers as I brought each thoughtful present home.

Instead this year I was figuring out what it was that brought me the most joy. This year I figured out what it was to create a tradition that held importance to me. This year – divorced – I had to think about what that meant to me and how it made me feel.

I’m still not exactly sure what it means, but it does mean that no matter the time of year we must all be conscious of the fact that each person is on their own path of self-discovery. Whatever that might mean to them. I know that for many in my life, they have no idea that I had this thought always in the back of my mind. I kept it to myself as I smiled while singing Christmas carols and sighing with content at the happy holiday moves because I wanted to focus on what was in front of me and not what was behind me.

As cliche as it might sound, I truly am focused on a brand new year and continuing to embrace the opportunities that come my way.

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