Okay, so here is my obligatory holiday season post- expect another one around New Years.
I’ve been meaning to do a post on my experiences with family and friends over this past year- because it’s probably the main reason I’ve made it through the year without completely losing it, and there really isn’t a better time than Christmas time. As long as I can remember Christmas has been about spending time with family and friends- making house calls, dropping off baking, sharing one another’s company, etc etc. It’s time spent with the people who surround you during every aspect of your life- in a variety of ways. The past year or so for me has really opened my eyes to how the idea of family travels past the blood relations, without borders, and can get you through some pretty rough times.
This is the season to really look around you and appreciate what you are blessed with. Some people only have a few to call family, others have many. I’m blessed with quite a few, near and far, who I call family and who have shown me great kindness and love. Finding people in life that accept you for you and support you in wherever your life takes you is irreplaceable. The love I felt, right away, from relatives who only first met me when picking me up from an airport and taking me in for a short time was amazing. Or sat with me in the hospital when I was 10,000 miles away from home. I know my family in Canada was very grateful for all that too. I can never thank all those in NZ who did that for me, and hope that one day I can return the favour. I was lucky enough to spend my first Christmas away from home (and without snow) with NZ family who took me in as one of their own with no hesitation. Because of all those in that hemisphere who showed my love and kindness throughout my stay them, I saw a side of the country that I might not have experienced if I had done the typical travellers thing, or heaven forbid, stayed at my first job there. And during some of my darkest times there (believe me, there was those too), I had amazing support from close friends and family back in Canada. I found strength through those people, when I couldn’t find it in myself. For me, that’s what family is about.
Everyone interprets the meaning of family differently, I think. Traditionally it’s defined as a household with a mother, father, and children and then extended relatives. But for me, it encompasses the traditional aspect, of course, but also those people who have been by my side through different experiences and periods in my life. Friends. Being the busy person that I am, I meet people in many different places. There’s friends that have stuck with me since high school, relationships developed and tested through time spent in sport, training, work, travel, and now University. My mom has always told me that often you are closest to a person at a certain time in life because that’s when you need them, and vice versa. That relationship doesn’t always stay as close as time passes- but during that chapter of your life, it was important and is something to be respected. Time spent apart, and distance travelled can sometimes change a friendship- but a true friend is always a friend. Throughout this year I’ve been surrounded by a variety of people. Some of which I am quite glad I’ll never have to interact with again. But many who I hope are a part of my life for years to come, because they have brought out strength in me I didn’t know I had and reminded me that even when things get bad, they don’t stay bad forever. The stress in my life is truly only manageable because of the great people I have surrounding me. And I really do have some amazing friends and family in my life.
I am so happy to have people in my life that are there for the ups and downs, and am equally happy that I can be there for them through their goods and bads. To surround yourself with people who keep you striving towards your personal goals is so important. I do not believe true success (however you define that) is ever possible without a base of people supporting you through the trials of pursuing dreams. Life throughs some wicked tests, and even if you’re someone who studies better alone, the idea of having others to compare, contrast, discuss, or even just get distracted with is what makes those tests doable. Sorry for the school analogy. I’m currently in study withdrawal.
All this being said, I hope that everyone out there is blessed with people in their life who bring them you on the bad days, celebrate with you on the great days, and make every day in between worth living. Having each other is the greatest gift of all- and I hope this is something all of you are grateful for this holiday season.