This year has also been different. This year, there are presents. There was even some money to buy the presents. Working from home and not spending 3 extra hours a day in traffic meant I actually got things done early. It meant I got to enjoy the decorations in my home office and the rest of the house every day. In general, it has been the most relaxed holiday season I can remember in a very long time.
Which made me flashback to 2013. Fresh out of my financial meltdown, scrapping together money for Christmas Eve dinner, there were times I felt like I was never going to feel relaxed and happy again. The future did not look bright and the only light I saw in the tunnel turned out to be another train coming at me. I remember feeling like there was no way I would ever get back on track. Never be able to buy presents again. Never be able to enjoy a holiday season without feeling overwhelmed.
I realize now what I should have realized then. Never is a very long time.
I know there are many people who believe that the best of their lives are past them. That holidays don’t have the same meaning now that their children are grown. Children who feel the holidays have lost their magic because they are grown. People who have lost someone they loved and can’t imagine ever feeling happy to hear a favorite Christmas song. People who have lost their jobs, their homes and sometimes even the will to go on.
The holidays are never the perfect picture we have in our head. Some are hard and some are wonderful, but what struck me this year, is the best is never behind us. The best is always right around the corner. I may never feel exactly the same as I did the Christmas Eve when I was around eight and Santa brought me a Crazy Car. But sitting on my couch right now, listening to the rain and some Christmas music with a dog and a cat keeping my feet warm, a roof over my head and bills that are paid, feels pretty damn good.
2013 Christmas? Not one I can say I would want to do again. Christmas 2016, pretty darn good so far. Christmas 2017, who knows? Could be the best one ever.