December 25, 2016 – St. Paul, Minnesota

may-you-find-peace-and-joy-this-holiday-season

As I write this post on a cold, rainy, dreary Christmas Day in the Twin Cities, in the coziness of my parents’ home, I am reminded of how we all celebrate this time of year differently. For years in my 20s and early 30s, I lived overseas or far from family with limited income to get me home for the holidays. So I often found ways to celebrate on my own, and for many years, I was truly okay with it (because I had no choice not to be). I found this time alone rejuvenating in a way, as it allowed me to do what I wanted to do, how I wanted to do it. Did I want to sleep in all morning and watch movies in  bed? So be it. Did I want to indulge in carbs and sweets without any guilt? Consider it done.

Often times I’d go for long walks with my camera, read books, write, or do something creative on my own. One year a Jewish friend and I went to see “Black Swan” in the movie theater followed by a buffet dinner at Golden Corral. Another year in South Korea, I found a Western restaurant (Outback Steakhouse) and indulged in some good old Western food (which was priced at a premium back in the day as it was considered foreign cuisine that locals enjoyed only on special occasions). Sometimes I’d feel lonely, but often it was okay. Somehow, it still felt like Christmas to me, even when I was far from loved ones.

Now I’m back in the United States with the means to travel home to the Midwest at least once a year, and I’m grateful for this opportunity. Especially when there are people close to me who will be involuntarily spending the holiday on their own this year. How I wish I could take them to Minnesota with me for I know what it’s like to celebrate solo. I’ve done it many times myself.

So whatever you are doing this holiday season, whether you are alone at home or surrounded by family and friends, may you find peace and contentment in how you celebrate (if you celebrate), even if it is simply peace within your heart. If you are by yourself today, do something that makes you happy. Enjoy this time alone, but know that many of us have been through the same situation before and have come through it a stronger person. Be merry. Be bright. Life is too short not to be.

Happy holidays to those near and far, and thank you so much for all you do to make this blog a joy to create!

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