This time last year, I celebrated Christmas in Cuba and Thanksgiving in Mexico. I had a ball salsa dancing in the clubs and having new adventures. Yet, I still felt a hollowness on the inside of me. The same hollowness that I was running from, followed me from place to place. I had gotten to a point where I had determined not to spend anymore holidays at home. If I was going to be single and disconnected from my family, I might as well do it in another country. And once again, the holidays were better than before, but they still weren’t good. I was looking for that feeling of fullness but I had given up on finding it at home, in my normal life.
Then Covid-19 hit and canceled all my plans. I had just gotten back from Mexico in February and had planned trips to New York for my birthday, China in the summer, Texas, back to Cuba and then who knows where. These trips were booked and paid for and I was absolutely devastated when they sent me my money back. All my escape routes from my everyday life had been shut down. I also went through a short, but messy, relationship and consequent break up. Things were not feeling good. I couldn’t have anticipated the dramatic shifts in my life that would lead to possibly the best holiday experiences in my life to date.
This holiday season, has been the most peaceful, the most productive, the most full that I can remember. It’s not that anything super exciting happened. There were no super large family dinners or special gifts or even a beautifully decorated home. (My new space is too small for a tree). I did spend time with some family and new friends and I rode my bike and I baked a little bit but that’s it as far as events. I think the difference in my life now is that I feel like I belong here, in the spaces that I’ve co-created with the communities that I’m part of. I belong in my life because I’ve consciously made it rather than defaulting to it, or inheriting it. I’m not doing the things that I should do or that I’m supposed to do. I’m not connecting to the people that I should be connecting to or that would be good to connect to. I’m fully engaged in the life that I’ve built on purpose. And I have peace and appreciation for the life that I have rather than the pain of entitlement of not having the life that I thought I was supposed to have. That completely changed my holiday experiences for the best and I am so excited.
I know that alot of people are dealing with so many things during these holiday seasons. The pain of losing loved ones or spending their first holidays without those dear to their hearts and life experiences. Some have lost jobs and are going through so many transitions. Or maybe you never had the baby or family you desired for the holidays. There can be alot of pain tied to what we expected life to look like. And the pain is real and it is valid. However, we do have the power to shift our expectations to embrace the life we have rather than the one we wanted or felt like we deserved. It can be hard work, but freedom is on the other side. I’ve found it and I hope you do too.