Home for Christmas

All the change in my life in the last six months will make 2012 a year to remember. To recap, I’ve said goodbye to my father, reconnected with a dear friend I never thought I’d see again, talked to family members I’d never met before, published my first novel, split up with my ex, moved into a new house, and taken on new duties at my day job. That’s a lot for one year, much less six months–and that’s just the big stuff.

Friends and family members worry about me and how I’m coping with all the loss. I’m blessed to have so many people in my life who care about me, and grateful for the outpouring of love and support they…you…have shown me. Feeling the love you’ve sent my way has made a difference. Thank you.

I’m fine. In fact, I couldn’t be happier. Yes, there have been some very difficult moments. No doubt, some of the weight I’ve lost is the result of the tears I’ve shed. But those things are behind me now. Grumbling, complaining, and making myself miserable won’t change a thing. So I don’t. I focus on the positive and keep moving forward.

Staying focused on the positive can sometimes be a challenge. I ain’t gonna lie–I have my moments. But I like being happy too much to roll around in self pity for long. Besides, nobody wants to be around gloomy people who suck all the air out of the room with their negativity. At least I don’t. In fact, I run from those people now. Let them take someone else’s air. I need to breathe.

The hectic pace of the last few months has taken its toll. I’ve been sick–nothing serious, but it’s been years since I last had a cold, and I’ve had two in the last three months. I’ve missed most of my workouts–including three sessions in a row with my trainer, haven’t run for weeks, and have missed more Zumba classes in the last month than in the previous year. That ain’t good. My diet has taken a hit too, though I have to say, I’m doing a pretty good job avoiding stuff I shouldn’t eat. Mostly.

I still feel overwhelmed. Though mostly settled into the new house, there are quite a few little moving-related things I still need to do–and I’ve sorta lost track of what they are. Oh well. If it’s important…it’ll come to me, one way or another. The most dreaded is a trip out to the infamous DMV to change the address on my driver’s license. I couldn’t do it online because the photo on my license is 15 years old and they want a new one.

Everything about my new job is interesting, but not comfortable and familiar, which means I’m having to pay a lot more attention. And easing up until the dust settles isn’t an option. Instead of setting my own agenda–a luxury I’ve enjoyed for most of my career–now I do what someone else wants me to do. She gives me tremendous latitude and in no way micromanages me. But it’s still a loss of autonomy and I’m at the bottom of a long learning curve.

The release this coming Monday of my first novel, Until Thanksgiving, is also a factor. Everything about this experience is new to me, and I have to admit, more than a little exciting. I’m figuring out a lot as I go, with the help of my friends in the Athens Writers Workshop and the Dreamspinner Press writers I’ve hooked up with via email, Twitter, and Facebook. I have a ton of promotion work to do and I still need to finish and submit the prequel.

Given all that’s happened and that I’m already overwhelmed, I’ve decided to opt out of Christmas this year. That’s right. I’m opting out. There will be no holiday decorating, no baking or candy-making, no buying and wrapping of gifts, none of the holiday trappings. I have no decorations, and no intention of running out to correct that situation. I’ve got enough to do as it is. I’m not going anywhere either. I could. I just don’t want to. Now that I’m here, I want to spend Christmas at home.

The office holiday potluck was Monday, and I knew it was probably going to be the closest thing to Christmas dinner I’m going to get. I’m not just okay with that–I’m thrilled. I ate too much, as I did when I visited family for Thanksgiving. That’s enough holiday food for me. I don’t need to see any more cakes, candies, pies, cookies, brownies or bars. If it’s not around, I can’t eat it. And if I don’t eat it, maybe I can make it through this winter without gaining back any of the forty pounds I’ve worked so hard to lose.

I know skipping Christmas sounds horrible. You’re bound to think that looking forward to a Lean Cuisine turkey dinner with cranberries in the green beans is the saddest thing you’ve heard this year. Perhaps this will be the one blog post that finally goes viral. If so, remember, send me $1.

Honestly, I’m grateful to be in a situation where opting out really is an option. Most of you couldn’t opt out if you tried. Too many people count on you to…well…make the season bright.

I’m tired–exhausted really–and looking forward to two solid weeks without having to go anywhere or do anything. My time will be completely my own, to do with as I please. Maybe I’ll get a lot done. Maybe I won’t.

Besides, I won’t be alone. I’ll have Toodles. And after next Monday, all the fans of my book who will be emailing me and leaving comments on…

My Glass House


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