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.