This holiday season began and ended differently than any other I have experienced. For the first time in my life, Christmas was not spent in Alamosa. For the first time in almost 20 years, we did not work at the Alamosa Community Christmas dinner. For the first time in my life I spent New Year’s on the east coast.
As I look back on the year that was, and wasn’t, I realized that this may have been the most rewarding, frustrating, happy, and sad year of my life. Changes in location, jobs, school, people I have met, and people I have left all contributed to this change. With these changes, I have grown and become a better me. Mistakes and failures still found their way into my life, but in different ways.
When I left Alamosa nearly a year ago, I was both excited and sad. I was leaving for graduate school and better opportunities. But, I left behind my mother, my grandmother, my dog, and many, many friends. I decided near the end of 2011, though, that this was necessary for my life. So, when the calendar turned to 2012, I began to pack my things, and with tears in my eyes and hope in my heart, I left the only home I had known in my life.
I struggled to find my way in the beginning. As time wore on and I began to realize what I needed to do to set my path, I found a way to adapt, grow, and thrive. Still, I could not help but think of home.
After months of trying to find a way, my luck began to change. A couple of jobs came up, school was going well, and my connections grew enormously – both professionally and personally.
Through this, though, I still felt a void at times. Although, I had found many friends, I still missed the friendliness of home. Some of my closest friends came to visit for a few days several times. I came home for a few days every now and then, but I missed it.
Then the holiday season came and we decided to have Christmas in Denver because of my 3-month-old niece. It made sense. Most of the family lives in the area and it would be easier on the baby and my sister and brother-in-law.
So instead of celebrating at mom’s, going to the San Luis Valley Brewing Company with the family, seeing all my friends, and working the Alamosa Community Christmas dinner, we celebrated in Denver.
It was different. But, it was great.
If 2012 taught me anything, it was that change is inevitable. I still missed our traditional holiday celebrations. If the rest of the family decided to go to Alamosa, though, something would have been missing – three people and the newest member of the family.
Even though I was unable to celebrate in Alamosa, much of Alamosa came to me. I was able to spend a few days with a friend from home a week before Christmas. Family came up for Christmas. And, New Year’s was spent with my two best friends in New York.
Change happens every day. Sometimes change is not always easy, but with the right mind and the right intentions, change can be great. I still miss home. But, home will always be available to me. More importantly, the people who make home great will always be a part of my life. That’s why 2012 will always be one of my best years.