Tuesday, 8 January 2013

I hope I can make it feel like Christmas

My Christmas tree on Christmas Eve
Mince meat (non-alcholic and alcoholic)

It's hard to believe but over a year ago I began this blog. What's even harder to believe is that this blog is STILL in existence and has not diminshed to the sidelines like so many other literary efforts. What is even more surprising? I have found out that I actually like to write!

So much has happened in the last year. I could not have foreseen where 2012 was going to take me - I was too focused on the fact that I had just turned 29 and needed to make some sort of change in my life before I hit 30. I'm glad that I set this challenge for myself as turning 29 was one of the best things to have ever happened to me.

When I started this blog, I hadn't yet received my TEFL Qualification. Look at me now! Living and working here, friends from all over the world and a job I thoroughly enjoy. However, I am someone who very easily gets stuck in a rut. I don't always realise that I am stuck until something makes me open my eyes and ears. For example, for years my family had told me that they thought I was stuck in a rut in my old job. Not because I wasn't challenged there or because I wasn't enjoying myself, but because I had opted for security and stability instead of the adventures and dreams I once craved. Although I heard their words, I wasn't able to process them until the right moment, when I climbed out of the rut and back on the road. I don't like ruts...but unfortunately, they seem to like me!  Last year, I talked about how I wasn't doing any resolutions - well the reason being is because resolutions tend to become my ruts...and not in a good way. I fail in them too often and can't seem to become resolute again. Last year I set myself goals. This year, I plan on setting habits. Why?

Well, because I have family and friends who make it seem like Christmas even when [I] go wrong. They forgive and move on. They deserve a version of me who tries harder and does better. I have a nephew who is the light of my life. He may not have been in it for very long but he has made such a brilliant impression on it. I want him to know me at my best. It's because of him that I am in Korea. Not because I am at my best when I am nowhere near him, but because I can only be at my best if I begin to “live”. By staying in Ireland, in my old job, close to my family I was getting stuck in a rut and I couldn’t figure a way out. My nephew gave me the passport to live as I couldn’t (and can’t) bear the thought of letting him down. I want him to know me as someone who doesn’t let fear stand in the way of her dreams. I want him to know me as someone who is fun to be around. I want him to know me as someone who will love him and everyone around her with all that she has. I want him to know me as someone who is courageous, someone who dreams and someone who can rise to and succeed in any challenge that life sets her. In regards to my past, I have failed in this – all of this on so many occasions. Not because I don’t love my family or friends but because I hadn’t figured out how to make them “feel like Christmas even when things went wrong”. They (and my nephew) do this constantly for me but until I realized that I wasn’t doing it for them, I couldn’t achieve my own dreams. They deserve better than what I have given them these last 30 years. They have given me Christmas all year long and instead – I gave them winter far too often. So this year, you might think I’m mad, but I am going to strive to bring Christmas all year long. I don’t know yet, how I can achieve that but one thing is for sure – I need to start making the little things habits – habits for me to improve me and habits for me to improve the world. I need to start with myself – so here is my first attempt at starting a good habit and breaking one bad one: I am going to walk rain, snow, ice or shine for 10 minutes everyday once I am home from work. These 10 minutes can not form part of my current schedule (ie walking from the bus stop home). The bad habit I want to break: Being comfortable.
You might think I am mad to want to be uncomfortable – however that is not quite what I mean. What I mean is, I have become too comfortable in my life in Korea and me being comfortable equates to me slowly falling into a rut. So my life needs some shaking up. I am not sure how to shake it up but over the next months I want to try and do something different once a week – something I haven’t done before – whether it is to try some raw fish or yoga…I want to break my habit of being too comfortable in my laziness.

On a sidenote, people who make it feel like Christmas even when things go wrong: Well, nothing went wrong this Christmas – yes, I missed my family terribly. Yes, I wanted to be home. Yes, Korea doesn’t feel much like Christmas but the people who are here did. I have friends who are not even Christian, let alone Catholic, and they went above and beyond to make this Christmas special. My own family, despite the distance and time-zone differences, made this Christmas additionally special as I got to participate in our family’s traditional Kris Kindle and was able to open my present with the rest of them on my Christmas morning and their Christmas Eve. A friend, her brother and I went to Christmas mass in the white falling snow. A small group of us did our own Kris Kindle exchange and brunch in the morning and the evening brought together a group of 23. The people I have as friends here made me realize that even when things don’t go the way you want them to, you can still have Christmas! So here’s to great friends, amazing family and what are, hopefully, unbreakable good habits!  Bring it on 2013!

PS Inspired by Neil Diamond's "You make it feel like Christmas".

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