It's my first Christmas alone in ten years. I was in a relationship from 19-28, and we broke up when I moved to Chicago almost two and a half years ago. After a few months apart, we decided to get back together and spent the last two Christmases in Chicago. Together. I haven't seen him in a year, but the holiday season has still been bittersweet this year. I debated not getting a tree this Christmas but didn't want to miss out on something that I love. So I carried my tree home and up four flights of stairs. I strung the lights and placed each ornament on the tree on my own. It wasn't the same. It was a little sad. But that's ok because it was mostly wonderful, and in the end, I'm glad I did it.
Two years ago, I threw a Christmas party and invited a few new friends including ms. Alaina Kaczmarski who I knew through the blog world. We actually met for the first time that evening. Last night I threw my second Christmas party and found myself surrounded by some truly wonderful friends. And of course, Alaina was there. A girl who was just an acquaintance two years ago and who is now one of my best friends and my business partner. So many of my CrossFit friends came to the party. After 7 short months, these people (especially the girls) have become like family to me. I love them dearly. It turns out that I am less alone than I've ever been. It may not be how I pictured it, but I know I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
As I mentioned recently, I will be spending Christmas in Chicago. I need to be here with my little Buddy. I need to enjoy Christmas in my city, have lots of work to do next week, go to CrossFit, and spend time with my friends. I was certain that spending the holidays with a family that wasn't my own would be kind of sad, but I am actually looking forward spending Christmas Eve with Alaina and her family. Just like getting the tree by myself, it will be different, but that doesn't mean it won't be wonderful.
I would like to end this post with a quote by Abby Larson, the founder of Style Me Pretty. We had the pleasure of meeting Abby when we photographed her for The Everygirl. She was so, so sweet to us, and I'll never forget the moment her Q&A came in via email. I was walking home and read this quote with a smile on my face and tears in my eyes. I know that it was written for our readers, but in that moment, it felt like she was speaking to me. I needed those words. I still need them.
Breathe, my friend. You are not old, you are young. You are not a mess, you are normal. Extraordinary, perhaps. In the blink of an eye your life will change. And it will continue to change for decades to come. Enjoy it, embrace it…be grateful for the ride. You are not old, you are young. And faith will get you everywhere. Just you wait.
I am counting my many, many blessings this Christmas. Thank you to my friends for celebrating with me last night. I love you all more than words can say. And Chicago–thank you for the snow. I really needed it.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! xx