Hey guys! I just wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas and share with you my annual Christmas card that I’ve done every year on this blog. This year I took inspiration from my favorite movie of the year Inside Out. I hope you have all the joy in this joyous time of the year you can handle. Sure love you all!
Hi from California friends! I just wanted to put a little Thanksgiving message on this blog. I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday or if you are abroad and not celebrating having a great day just the same! It’s kind of cool when you think about it that as Americans we have decided to dedicate an entire day to the virtue of gratitude. We don’t do that for other virtues such as fidelity, trust, honor, etc but we set aside a whole day to think about all the things we have to be grateful for.
Mostly I am thankful for the life I have. I know that sounds cheesy but it is true. My life is far from perfect but I think it is pretty great. I am so thankful for my job. I love being able to work from home and not have to be stuck in a cubicle all day. I love being able to go outside and listen to music and not have a boss looming over me everyday. It’s a pretty great gig.
I also love my current employment. After working in accounting for a decade it has been so wonderful doing something creative each day. I also love the challenge of learning to work in marketing. Each day I do something different and new. How many jobs can say that? Certainly not accounting! That’s for sure!
I am also thankful for my home. I never thought I would be a home owner but I’ve now been one for 3 years. I love my house and still feel it is the most Me place in the world.
I am thankful for my roommate of 3 years named Regan and for her putting up with me!
I am thankful for my blogging and youtube channel. It has been such a positive experience and helped me interact with some amazing individuals. I seriously love you guys more than I could have imagined.
I am thankful for my faith and that no matter what is thrown at me it stays strong. I see people wilt and lose their faith and it makes me so grateful I have been able to remain steadfast.
I am thankful for great literature, art, music, dance and movies. I am thankful a new Star Wars movie is coming out! I am thankful for Disney and Pixar and all the artists/authors who dare to put something out to the world for all of us to enjoy/judge.
I am thankful for my friends and family and all the love and support they show me.
I am thankful for open water swimming and all my swim friends.
I am just thankful to be me and to be alive and living this strange life of mine. Thank you all for being a part of it.
Now on to Christmas!
On Monday I got the chance to go to an early screening of the new holiday film Love the Coopers. It’s not a good movie. In fact, in many ways it is a very terrible film but I had an ok time watching it. Here’s my review:
One of the things I liked in the film is this idea of scheduling happiness that happens during the holidays. I’ve felt that a little bit the last few years. When I was a kid I loved the holidays because they were happening to me and the magic of the season was easy to latch onto. As an adult that magic usually takes a lot of effort and has to be planned out. It’s like I am saying “this Thursday I will be happy. Let’s schedule it in”. I don’t think during other times of the year I have such a weighted expectation of achieving happiness in all my plans.
It’s not that I expect to be miserable during the rest of the year’s goings-on but usually it’s more a more neutral every day form of happiness that is anticipated. I go to a movie, meet a friend for lunch, attend a birthday party. All pleasant experiences but not a highlight of the year. During the holidays pleasant somehow feels like a letdown. Does this make sense to any of you?
Last year I was basically alone on Christmas which was a little bit sad. I am sure there is someone out there that likes to be alone on the holidays but the vast majority of us think of it as a time to be with family/friends. I did have Christmas Eve with family and Christmas brunch with friends but most of the day I was alone. The thing is it actually ended up feeling like any other day and you know what- that was a relief. It was just a day off from work and not that different from 4th of July. Perhaps it was being so horribly sick the year before I just allowed myself to have an ordinary day on Christmas day.
I think there might be something to this. Instead of scheduling and planning happiness just allowing Christmas to be more of an ordinary day. That way when the joys of the season come they feel unexpected and give us even more happiness than if we planned them out. I know I might miss out on some things that require planning but I feel I have enough of a routine that I’m not going to really miss out. For instance, I go to Christmas Carol at Hale Theater every year. That’s my routine so it doesn’t require much planning.
The last few holiday seasons have been interesting. In 2012 I was alone, everything in boxes, and getting ready for the move. Things were tough in my family that year and it was a stressful time. In 2013 I got sick as a dog. It was one of the sickest I have been in years. It hurt to breathe and I was so miserable I couldn’t even open presents on Christmas day. And then last year I was alone but had a pleasant simple Christmas (again that felt like a little bit of a letdown because it was just another day).
I know people who say Christmas is better for them as adults than as children. That’s cool for them but definitely not my experience. Like I said, when you are a kid the magic is presented for you (or at least it was for me) and as an adult it all gets much more muddled. I feel like sometimes I end up chasing that Christmas of my childhood and am a bit disappointed when I don’t achieve it.
This year I am going to see my family in California for Thanksgiving but not at Christmas. I am going to try and plan a few things but I am going to try and temper that expectation of happiness and just enjoy the moments for what they are. Sure I will plan some things but the idea of scheduling ‘I will be happy next thursday’ I don’t think works very well. It ends up feeling like a cheesy smile in a school photo- kind of hollow version of happiness. I just want to schedule a few things and if they make me happy that’s awesome!
Do you know what I am saying? Does that make any sense? Have any of you felt a little underwhelmed by the holiday season as adults? What do you think of this idea of scheduling happiness?
Last Friday I turned the 34 and had a great birthday. I decided to meet up with friends at the local aquarium because I thought it would be an easy place to bring kids and my friends wouldn’t need to find sitters. It ended up being very crowded and we had a hard time staying together as a group but I felt like I spent time with everyone who came and really enjoyed it.
My friend Lisa came over and stayed in the guest room Friday night. She even came with me to a midsingles game night I had to go to (and ended up being very fun!). We had a great time visiting and reminiscing about our missions (she served in my mission mostly before I got there).
When we all got back from the aquarium we had tarts from my favorite bakery, Bake 360. They were delish! My Dad surprised me by getting me a sound box and new TV!!! I was overwhelmed at such a gift. I also got some new big mixing bowls from my roommate and Mom, Anne of Green Gables from my sister, scarf, swimming shampoo, and my Christmas gift to myself came on my birthday- my dream Le Crueset dutch oven pot.
But more than any gifts I was blessed to be reminded with just how many people love me. I am so blessed with good people in my life. I lost track at 49 but I couldn’t even tell you how many birthday wishes I got on facebook and other social media. When I think of the lonely people I met on my mission and other places I am overwhelmed with gratitude at all God has given me.
Thanks to everyone who made my birthday memorable. I love you!
Normally New Years is one of my least favorite holidays. For a long time it was fun but I’ve found it frustrating because it is a very couply holiday and one where I increasingly seemed to get left out. See post New Years Eve Sucks)
Not this year!
This year my friend and former mission companion Julia Graves came for a visit and it was such a treat. I rarely have visitors that are here just to see me. My family comes a lot but they have their own house and sometimes I hardly see them because of their work responsibilities and other family things.
Regardless, they aren’t here just to see me and for me to be host and show them around.That hardly ever happens despite my very comfortable guest room! (It’s ready for anyone to come on over!). So it was so great to have Julia here for a visit and to have fun and reminisce.
She arrived on the 30th and we went to lunch and then got settled in and she was kind enough to join me for our SLOW (Salt Lake Open Water) end of year banquet. We spent a fair amount of time in the car and had a lot of fun talking with each other.
Then the 31st we went to Blue Plate Diner in SLC and had a yummy breakfast.
And then I had gotten a room for New Years at my favorite hotel- the City Center Marriott in Salt Lake. It is the place I went when I quit my job in 2007 and so it has always had a special significance (one of the best days of my life!). I also went there for my Eat Pray Love weekend in 2012.
I also successfully parallel parked twice! Pretty impressive right?
Then we went to Copper Common- the sister restaurant of my favorite place Copper Onion and it was very yummy!
After that we spent a bit of time at Temple Square and listening to music and enjoying the lights of the city (there was a lot going on this year with eveslc.com). It was the most walking I’ve done since the knee injury which was good. I felt it the next few days but it was a start. There was a faux light fireworks display but we were so cold we decided to head home and watch the New York ball drop (what a letdown that was. They didn’t even show the countdown!). But we had a great time with the hot tub and pool and just enjoying the hotel.
New Years Day we went to breakfast at the hotel and then went to the new Living Aquarium in Draper. I’ve been wanting to go and it was really fun! My knee was hurting from pushing it the previous day so I used my cane and it helped a lot.
The aquarium was easy to work around with lots of animals and fun exhibits. My favorite was the penguins.
After the aquarium my parents and grandma came over and we had fajitas and Mexican food together. They got to hear all about our memories from the mission. It is so strange to think it will be 10 years in March since I came home from my mission. Being with Julia made it feel like yesterday.
Today was the final day of the trip and we went to Bake 360 for breakfast (their new cafe is so delish!). Then we did some shopping and tried to go to 2 different art museums but they were both closed! (Art was not on our side!).
So we went to the Leonardo. They have one of those plastic body exhibits and those creepy me out so we just went to the regular exhibits and it was fun. I thought it was an art museum but it’s actually science and math based.
It was just a great trip and time with a friend. I am so lucky to have wonderful friends in my life and playing host was a blast. I loved reminiscing about our mission and all the years since. Julia is also single and we have very similar personalities and are both still active in the church. Our faith is very important to us and sharing it with the Hoosiers has given us a bond that will last forever. I just had the most lovely time.
Definitely my best New Years Eve ever! A great way to start 2015!
Keeping up 2 blogs is sometimes a challenge. It feels like I just wrote in this one and then I look and it’s been 6 days! Sorry about that. Make sure to check out the other blog for Scrooge month. I think you will all really enjoy it and I would love your feedback and comments.
I don’t know if I mentioned it on this blog but this year will be my second Christmas I have spent away from my family. The first time was Christmas 2012 while I was waiting for my house to finish. That was an incredibly stressful time and honestly my family was better off with me far away from them because I was a worried mess!
Plus, it was so stressful living out of boxes and never knowing if I was moving in a week, a month, whatever (ended up closing on the house January 31st when they had originally told me 12/31. It was made even more stressful because my roommate and tenants were also waiting to move in and the weather was awful.
This year is much different. I have had a very full Christmas season. Name it I’ve done it. From watching every holiday film I can put my hands on (and blogging about many of them), decorating 2 trees, outside decor, cookie swap and baking, shopping, singing with choir and for RS party, and more. I LOVE my trees this year and have gotten so much pleasure out of looking at them and all the memory ornaments and smiling.
I have also watched my share of cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies and eaten delicious food. I have plans for Christmas Day breakfast at my home teachers and then will go see Into the Woods (can’t wait).
Things are exciting at work with lots going on and it’s been fun having my first Christmas with my new job. They are just the best!
I do sometimes feel a little sad being alone for Christmas. I’m human just like anyone else. I particularly miss having children to share the holidays with (although my presents for my nieces is awesome!). I’ve long said most of us are chasing the holidays we had as youth and it can never quite live up to that magic as an adult. That’s ok. So is life.
So, yes I am human and do feel sad and lonely on occasion but I also feel incredibly blessed. Now I am just crossing my fingers that the sore throat I’ve been having doesn’t morph into a full blown sickness like I had last year. Please no! My favorite mission companion is coming for New Years and I am soooo excited! The last thing I want is to be sick for her visit!
It’s also nice my roommate is staying here for Christmas and my tenants are also very festive (we technically have 3 trees in my house! Happy day!).
So it is a single Christmas but it is also a very full and blessed Christmas. As a single person I lose out on some of the magic of the season but I also have an ability to focus on what really matters that is tough when you have little one’s to shop for and entertain. I am grateful for that focus in my life.
What is your Christmas looking like? If you are single how do you manage the holidays? How do you deal with sadness or loneliness? What are your favorite traditions to celebrate for just you (a lot of traditions we do for other people so what’s the most important for you and why?).
I would love to hear your stories and wish you all a Merry Christmas!
(Some of the graphics on this post are just trying to have a little sense of humor about my situation. Don’t take them to seriously!)
I’ve developed a fun tradition with my friend Joan at Bitsy Creations who is a talented graphic designer to make a custom Christmas card. Here’s a little slideshow of my previous year’s cards.
Here is this years card. Merry Christmas!! Thank you for every blog you’ve read and support you’ve given me. It means more than you will know. I hope you enjoy Scrooge Month and have a very wonderful holiday season.