Today is Christmas Day, and I have a lot of feelings.
As always, I miss my mom and grandparents. So many of my holiday memories are full of their love and humor and personalities, it’s impossible for me to not think of them. Christmas has fewer anatomically-correct craft projects, cut-throat games of UNO and Phase 10, and questionable safety decisions without them – and my Christmas will always be a little sadder for it.
It’s also a little bittersweet as a parent, because it’s likely (if all goes according to plan) our last Christmas with my eldest living at home. He just started a “grown up” job, with benefits and a paycheck that should let him get an apartment of his own. And he wants to do that, and even though I’ll miss him, I know this is the goal. Raising a functional, independent adult. But next Christmas I likely won’t wake up to find him and his sister watching cartoons, and that’s a little sad.
It’s also happy, because I have 90% of a new kitchen! The main reason I haven’t blogged in two months is because we’ve been in the middle of a big renovation. Something had to give. Now, our 70s ranch has beautiful dark, distressed hardwood floors made of engineered bamboo. We have new kitchen cabinets. We have shiny grey-black granite kitchen counters. A new fridge with an icemaker! A new stove. And a dishwasher. I literally haven’t had a dishwasher this century. Unless you count my kids, which you definitely shouldn’t because they never wash the dishes.
There’s still some plumbing work to finish, and a back splash to install. And light fixtures to replace the one that decided to die in the middle of the project. But still – my house is looking less like a sad 70s ranch still stuck in the middle of a half-assed 90s renovation, and more like a comfortable place to live. Like, everything works, y’all. All the burners on the stove work. The cabinets aren’t falling to pieces. The fridge doesn’t accidentally half-freeze and ruin any produce placed in it. The floors actually look noticeably cleaner after I sweep and mop.
I am quite excited about this.
Also, I am excited about my current fiction project. I’m not talking about it much, but it’s the first thing I’ve done specifically intending to submit to a New York publisher. It’s a little terrifying. I am very tempted to sabotage myself and not finish it. But the ball is rolling, the story is pouring out of me almost faster than I can keep up with typing it, the same way Bitter Cold did. So if I don’t finish, I would know it was just fear, and not real issues with the story. I expect a rejection, just because of the sheer odds. But if I didn’t think it was good enough to earn an acceptance, I wouldn’t be doing it. And anyway, I have a history of beating insane odds.
I’m also excited to have a few days off from work, so I can catch my breath enough to really appreciate it. It’s hard to do in the middle of “crunch time,” and it’s always crunch time at a startup.
I love my job. I love my coworkers, who are a fabulous bunch of amazing people. I think back a year, when I was working two jobs and trying to figure out if I’d made a mistake in moving to full-time teleworking. It’s hard to believe that was just a year ago. Now, I’m happily settled into a great team, using my gifts and talents for the greater good.
“Changing the world” is usually part of the whole startup culture of hyperbole. But I’m working for one whose goal is ending modern slavery. We literally are trying to change the world.
Right now, I’m incredibly blessed. Life isn’t perfect; it never is. But I wanted to take a moment to share. There was a time, not even that long ago, when I thought my life was over. When someone told me I should kill myself, because nobody would miss me – and I thought about it. I considered it. No matter how bleak things look – and they can look pretty bleak this time of year – things can change. They have to change – change is the natural state of the world.
The world spins, the sun comes a little closer, and the days get a little longer.
Eventually, if you keep moving forward, you’ll find yourself smiling and standing in the light. Wondering how you got there, and a little overwhelmed by how close you came to giving up.