The Trouble with Christmas

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

IMG_9378

Image via Wishful Thinking

I don’t do these heart-to-heart posts often on this blog but with Christmas just gone, the topic of loneliness has been on the forefront of my mind and I felt an overwhelming urge to put pen to paper (so to speak). I wanted to start by clarifying that Christmas is my favourite time of the year (lest you think I am a regular Grinch) - I love the colours, the food, the traditions and I embrace it all with abandon. Unfortunately, it’s also the time of year when the absence of family and friends is felt more starkly for most. This year, with just Jordan and I at the Christmas table, the loneliness felt almost unbearable. We tried. We opened presents, we headed down to the beach, we cooked a lovely meal but with hoards of families enjoying the sunshine together, the chasm grew and grew. By late afternoon, photos of family gatherings back home began to appear on Facebook, obligatory phone calls from reluctant relatives were hurriedly received and made (or in my case, none were received at all) and Christmas lunch was eaten quickly and packed away quietly. Wine was drunk and self pity was had in spades. It was the very first Christmas that I wished away. And will hopefully be the last.

A few days away from the confines of home, doing some of my favourite things raised a few new questions and concerns (mainly for the future generation of little Smiths that will share in the same isolation), but thankfully, the time away allowed me to think and helped validate our continued choice of living away from “home”. I also realised something that brought a level of comfort and perspective to me, Jordan and I are not alone. There are others out there that have made the difficult choice to leave all they know behind to carve out new (better) lives for themselves. To have new opportunities, to live without unnecessary injustices or constant fear, to see the world, to have tangible dreams. There are others out there, like us, who are shy and take time to make good friends. There are others out there with family members who seemingly forget about them. And there are others out there who spent this Christmas by themselves, missing home and those they hold dear. If you are one such person, know that you are not alone. There are others who are experiencing the very same feelings and questioning the same choices. It will get better. Christmas just sucks once in a while. Next year promises to be way better anyway.

7 comments

  1. Christmas does suck once in awhile and this one proved to be one of those for me too. Of course it had its good moments because when I put my blinders on to everything else and just looks at my littles, their giggles and excitement make everything look pretty perfect. But all and all I was glad this Christmas is simply over. The holidays can be a time when things that once were, but no longer are, or things that aren't exactly as we wish they were become clear under the glaring (strings of) light.

    Moving away is a big choice (one i think about too!) and with all big choices there are consequences with the rewards. Though hopefully now that you have felt all the feels and made it through them you can get back to basking in the rewards of your amazing and brave choice. Here's to a new year! xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Christine, it's hugely comforting to hear that I wasn't alone in my sentiments this year. I think I have indeed felt all the feels and am glad that it has mostly passed and I can look forward to the new year ahead. Happy New Year to you and yours! xxx

      Delete
  2. It's true that Christmas is perceived more as a family holiday, but family doesn't have to be blood relatives – family can be whoever you want, as long as it's people you trust, people you love and who love you back, people you can count on for support and a hug whenever you need it, and who can count on you to do the same for them. Take the time to build yourself a new family, one that deserves you, that welcomes you with open arms, that never makes you feel the need to run away or distance yourself, and you'll never feel lonely. I'm sorry the price for your brave choices was to feel lonely at Christmas! Keep strong. You have the power and space to create new traditions of your own.

    Here's to 2015 being a brilliant year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your kind words Elisa. You are right, family is a relative term and hopefully 2015 will bring some settlement back into our lives. Looking forward to creating some new traditions and family in the upcoming year! Happy New Year to you!

      Delete
  3. oh sweetheart, i know how you feel, I had it many times in my life:( i do miss me friends so much I think you should visit me next year for Xmas maybe with little Smith already:)I would love thatxxx

    ReplyDelete
  4. It's tough - this was my first Christmas living in my own hometown again after over 12 years and I found myself needing space to breathe and do my own thing. Family is lovely and I can't imagine the holidays without them but it also makes me realize how much I need to make sure to take care of myself as well. Hugs to you and yours this holiday season!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I read this post when I had limited wifi and I've been thinking about it ever since. Christmas is long past and you're on to the new year (obvs!), but your words resonated with me. When Neel and I lived in CA, Christmas became our own, and especially after we had Cal, we took it over. Some of my best Christmases were "family-free" with new routines for brunches and beach walks. You guys are at a unique in-between time in your lives. Your time in Australia is still new enough that your traditions and relationships haven't been set, and even if the day to day feels home-like and familiar, there's nothing like a family holiday to remind you that you've set out on your own. ;)

    I'm sorry this year was hard. I've been there, for various reasons, but I feel sure you're right. Next year already you'll have new traditions, new friends, new routines. Lots of options and opportunities. It's a brand new year.

    ReplyDelete

Go on! Leave a comment - you know you want to!