Somehow I got out of dishes by saying "I think I'm going to write a Christmas blog." I have no idea how that worked. Apparently if I say things like that with enough authority, they actually sound legit. So with my mother's approval ("blog away, Tina"), I am going to try to wrap up the feelings stirring in me from the holidays going on and the end of the year so closely on the horizon.
This year has been a shaky one. I know that in the grand scheme of things, I have a wonderful life and I am very fortunate in pretty much every aspect of my existence. I am thankful every single day that I have a caring, fun family, amazing friends in all parts of the world, and I get to do the things I love for a living. But that doesn't mean I can't have difficult stuff going on sometimes. At the start of this year, I wasn't in a very good place. I don't need to dwell on the specifics - instead, today, as I look back on everything that's happened since this time last year - I want to climb up on my roof and scream as loud as I can about how much better things are.
I really am truly happy right now. I've made a lot of life changes.. from deciding to stay in Seattle and getting involved in things here, to making a bunch of new friends in my town, to letting go of some people who were holding me back. From all the little changes I've had to make to take care of my vocal nodes, to trying to jump back into writing, to starting to learn to cook a bit so I can eat more healthily, I'm feeling so great about the direction I'm going. Everything bad that happens to us in life will get better with time and healing, and I feel so relieved to be able to revel in really feeling whole right now.
I'm excited for what the new year will bring - ever since I got involved in the amazing Internet communities I'm a part of, I have been blown away year after year that each one seems even more incredible than the last. I have a good feeling that 2012 is going to follow that trend.
Christmas at home had been nice. I know many families go to their grandparent's house or share the day with a whole slew of aunts and uncles and cousins, but my extended family all lives quite far away. While we do make it a point to see them in the summer, Christmas has always been a time just for my Mom, Dad, brother and myself. Each year is fairly similar to the one before it, but that's why it's special. We only have each other out here when it comes to family, so I cherish the moments we have together, opening gifts, making/eating food, going to church (despite my own beliefs) and playing cards.
I got a lovely pile of gifts including a Kindle Touch, the game Catch Phrase, a bunch of candles, an Urban Decay eyeshadow palette, Kermit footy pajamas and a gorgeous jade necklace my Mom bought me in China (among other things). It's kind of nice to be a bit older and more mature around Christmastime.. it was always so stressful when I was younger, always getting hung up on the gifts. I remember fretting over my wish list, worrying my friends would get better presents or things I didn't think of - that all seems so silly now. I almost prefer giving gifts to receiving them now; seeing the looks on people's faces when I manage to get them exactly what they wanted is seriously the best.
My favorite gift I gave this year was a Jayne hat (from Firefly) to my dad. We really bonded over that show a few years back, and he loved the episode when Jayne's mom sent him the dorky orange hat. I've been waiting to see my dad crack up when he opened that gift for months. My favorite gift I received was from my brother Nick - he installed a stereo in my car all by himself. He's been working on it out in the garage all weekend. It means a lot that he'd put that much labor into a gift for me. :)
The necklace from my mom, as well, is very special. She picked it out for me at the Jade factory in China, and it's supposed to bring happiness and love into my life. I'm a little worried this means she's wishing for some grandkids, haha, but unfortunately for her it's going to be a good long while before that's on the table. Like, after I meet a boy, specifically. #foreveralone
I know a lot of my blog posts recently have been sort of mushy I-love-my-life type ramblings, but I'm just so, so happy with how things have changed for me. It wasn't that long ago when I felt like it was going to be impossible to turn things around, and I'm just amazed with how easy it ended up being. I think the obstacles and choices in our life really do happen for a reason, and I'm glad to be right here, exactly where I am.
This might be my last blog post of the year (maybe not though, I might need to do one of those stereotypical go-through-the-months posts) but at the very least, I'm positive I'm not flying anywhere else in 2011.
So for the last time...
Flights taken: 26 (not bad for one year!)