Since I was a little kid, Decembers meant holidays, school breaks, and a shift from one year to the next. In university, it meant longer breaks, hangouts with friends, and a bit of goal setting for the next. As I shifted into teaching high school, that December break took on a new meaning, travel. Living in New York, that travel was often geared towards someplace warm, for a hit of vitamin D, and a spot in the heart of winter to rejuvenate my spirit. And all those years since, the month that houses the shortest day of the year and the start of winter, has continued to have even more meaning in the life of this girl who loves summer.
It was in December when I had my first solo travel experience. It was in December when I first traveled to the other side of the world and fell in love with the land of koalas and kangaroos. It was in December when I went to New Zealand and today, 15 years later, am married to the boy I met on that trip. And it was in December when we left New York to move to San Diego, when we had our first kiss, when we got engaged, when my Dad passed away, and when we drove back to New York to stay for a while after that experience.
Growing up, I never looked forward to December. To me, it was cold, dreary, the start of my least favourite season, and the literal darkest time of year. A close college friend of mine once told me she didn’t think I should ever make decisions in the height of winter or that of summer. She knew that I was the happiest with my toes in the sand and would muddle through the season of snow. I’ve never forgotten that advice and often use it to check and guide my decision-making process. Today, I’m grateful to live in a city that has a minimal winter experience, allows more regular hits of vitamin D exposure, and continue to remind myself of my decision-making skills depending on the season.
Well, it’s December again, and this one will go down in the history books. While this December’s travel took us as far as our tiny terrace, we’re here, we’re grateful, and as always, looking forward. Nowadays, Decembers are a mix of emotions for me. While it now begins with Dad’s yahrzeit, it then continues to remind me of travel adventures past and catapult me towards dreaming about future ones. Although neither of us were fans of the coldest season of the year, both Dad and I looked forward to the solstice – oddly enough, for two people who could spend an entire day outside, the shortest day of the year meant something ever more significant than its darkness. The bigger picture of that day was that as of that next morning, the light would continue to grow.
2020 has been a doozy of a year. It’s been hard, and harder still for so many. While our daily existence has without question been changed, these months of lockdown, quarantine, border closures, and all things Zoom has forced us to be grateful for the little things, find perspective in our daily lives, learn to practice patience, embrace a closeness of heart, find new ways to do old things, give perpetual thanks to the heroes among us, and to strive towards acceptance of that which is beyond our control. We may not have been able to cross those physical borders, but we have managed to share love, virtually hug, and connect in more ways than one. This December is different to those that have come before, but like those others, this month has still managed to remind me to find gratitude, practice perspective, and to remember that amidst the darkness, there is and always will be, light. So, as this December draws to a close, in more ways than one, I continue to find myself seeking that light. Wishing you and your loved ones health, love, and happiness today and always. Here’s to a lighter, brighter tomorrow for us all.