Making the most out of my toughest Christmas on record, saying farewell to holiday traditions

As I’ve said a million times, 2012 has been anything but a walk in the park for me or the rest of the world. The tail end of the year has been especially uninspiring, so after I recovered from my post-Sandy cocktail of bronchitis and pink eye, I was disheartened to hear that my mom would be relocating from my childhood home of fifteen years into a new place mere days before Christmas. Moving day ended up taking place on the 21st, and with all the babysitting and unpacking we had to do, we didn’t even think to get a tree.

Not only is this my first Christmas in more than a decade that I haven’t spent at my Scotts Valley home, but also my first Christmas ever without a tree. I won’t divulge much, but I’ve been fretting over an ill family member for weeks as well. Then there’s the lingering fear of what’s going to become of me in 2013 and forever longing for something I may never have again. I can’t say I’m down on luck, but I’m not in the happiest or most certain of places either.

With so many changes and endless amounts of mystery, I didn’t even bother with my lifelong Christmas traditions, which in the past entailed watching holiday movies such as “Elf” and “Home Alone” on repeat, leaving a long-winded letter for myself in one of the ornaments, and laughing about inside jokes from Christmas flicks that amused me and my friends in the early 2000s. I just didn’t care to pretend everything’s the same or worth observing this year — and you know what? I’m glad I ditched tired, pointless traditions (which were keeping me in a state of arrested development), welcomed change, and was reminded that Christmas is about people, not arbitrary routines, structure, forced sentiment, childish movies, or decorations.

Last night, my mom dressed up our ficus tree, which is the best we could do this Christmas. Not too bad, if you ask me, and I’m not being sarcastic in the least:

Ficus Christmas tree

I also had a chance to hang with my awesome and adorable new niece Grace, who is as cute as newborns come:

Niece Grace

Was this Christmas dramatically different from that of 2011, when I was bursting with excitement over my exciting new job as opposed to disillusioned by the constantly changing, heartbreaking, underwhelming workforce? Yes it was. A year ago, I was confident good things were ahead. I maintain such certainty but recognize that I may have to wait longer for solid results thanks to some less-than-wise choices I made in 2012. That’s the gist of adulthood, right? Learning to live with impulsive, emotionally driven, or poor decisions. What better place to screw up than Manhattan, where everyone is a disaster?

I can’t boast about my cool, glamorous professional circumstances at the moment, but I can say that I made more friends and met more people this year than I ever expected to post-college. I always thought life ended after higher education. As it turns out, college was only the beginning of the party for me, just like 2012 was just one insignificant year in the grand scheme of things. 2013 will be better, not because my mom will have long settled into her new digs by next Christmas and purchased a tree, but because I plan on taking the biggest risk of my life before the end of the year. You’ll see it in book form soon enough. Sit tight and stay tuned.

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