This is an old blog I recently rediscovered. I thought I would share it here since, after all, ’tis the season! Find this posting and more in the Digital Time Capsule.

Holiday Thoughts
December 13, 2007

It’s that time of year again… Christmas is here!

So, that magical time of year is upon us yet again. It’s really hard to believe that another year has flown by so quickly. You know, time is really a funny thing. When I take a moment to pause and reflect on how much things have changed in the past 12 months, it really boggles my mind. There have been some pretty amazing times, heart breaking situations and instances that I know I have taken for granted.

Each day seems as if it passes relatively slowly. Yet, when a certain event, such as a holiday or birthday, occurs, it is not unusual to hear phrases like “Wow, where has the time gone?” or “That flew by!” Yes, time will always pass at the same rate – it is unchanging yet we, as humans, are constantly changing – always growing and learning. Before the close of this year, I wanted to take some time to share what I have learned this year:

1. Cherish every moment. If you are always preparing for something – waiting for the “right” time to do something – stop! The time is now. THIS is your life. Live it to the fullest.

2. Tell your friends and family you love them. Make time to call – or even email if you must. Don’t let the day to day get in the way of the people that truly matter to you. Everyone has a busy life. It’s nice to hear that you’re being thought of once in a while.

3. Don’t be afraid to let go – to grow – to learn – to take risks. It’s not worth holding on to something if you are not happy. The reality is that we all live life once. Do it for yourself.

4. Never forget to kick back and have some fun. Genuine, real, laugh-until-your-stomach-hurts-and-you-have-tears-streaming-down-your-bright-red-face fun!

5. Take initiative. Work hard. Be honest. Take pride in everything you do.

6. Take credit when you do something well. Congratulate yourself and be proud.

7. SMILE! A lot.

8. Remember that everyone has problems in their lives. And most of the time, there is someone out there worse off than you. So, count your blessings and give back when you can – even if it’s just taking a few extra seconds to hold the door open for someone or letting that car cut in front of you on the highway. You might be running late for work – that person cutting you off might be rushing to the hospital because his wife is in labor.

9. Take things in stride. Let go of the little things. Don’t gossip. Try to be a little nicer – remember karma.

10. Every day is a chance at a new beginning – a fresh start. Stick to your guns. Stand up for what you believe in. Don’t get taken advantage of – don’t take advantage of others. Just be you.

I also wanted to comment on the spirit of Christmas. Now, for those of you that know me – I mean really know me – this won’t come as a big surprise. Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year. And it’s never been Christmas day itself. It’s not about the presents or Santa. I consider myself a religious person, but it’s not just about the birth of Jesus, either. To me, the miracle of Christmas has always been about the days and weeks leading up to it. While most everyone else is out bustling about with holiday shopping and preparing family meals, I prefer to watch the snow fall or listen to children laughing as they wait for a picture with Santa. I love how at Christmas everything in the world – for just a few still moments – seems right… at peace, even. People smile more and greet each other happily as they walk down the street. Arguments seem insignificant and selfishness and greed melt away; after all, “It’s Christmas”. The spirit of the season encompasses a sense of hope. And this is what strikes me the most.

I don’t come from a wealthy family by any means. When I was younger, it was an unspoken understanding that we wouldn’t have as many presents as our friends and the ones we were fortunate enough to receive were never nearly as good as those of our classmates. So hoping for that beautiful 3 story dollhouse or bracelet from Tiffany’s wasn’t even a thought. That’s not the kind of hope I’m talking about. My family, as most families, is full of drama and complications so hoping for a wonderful Christmas where everyone got along or sat around a piano singing Christmas carols isn’t what I mean either. I mean the kind of hope that you get from watching someone worse off than you opening a present. The hope that you get from seeing strangers show kindness to one another. Hope that is gained only at Christmas. Hope that one day the whole world can live in harmony and people will act year round as they do at Christmas.

This year, I am very fortunate to have the most amazing friends that anyone could ever dream of. For the first time in my life I truly feel loved, appreciated, needed, wanted and secure. I have come a long way in my short 22 years and I actually feel proud of myself. I’m looking forward to my future instead of dreading it. I’m enjoying life and worrying less. I’m letting go of things that are out of my control and I’m preparing for the wonderful things that I finally believe lie ahead of me. I’ve realized that true friends are there for you no matter what – regardless of the number of times you call on them (or the time of day, for that matter). And I’ve realized that the family – the family I keep trying to build and hold together – the one I’ve been searching for is right here… my friends truly are my family. I love you all so much and I appreciate everything you have done for me this year and always. I am truly privileged to know each and every one of you and it makes me smile when I think of all the memories we share. Thank you just for being you.

At this special time of year I just want to say, Merry Christmas. I wish you all a warm and happy holiday. May you find your own magic in this season and the kind of hope only Christmas can bring.

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