What My Christmas Past Teaches Me About My Christmas Future

Posted Thursday, December 15, 2016

Christmas Day 1988.

Our whole family had gone to DC to celebrate Christmas. Although I was excited to see DC, I was upset because I was slated to miss the annual church youth group winter trip that started on the 26th.

I woke up on Christmas morning with a surprise gift. My dad had gotten me a plane ticket and a chance to be with my friends for the rest of the week. I was going back alone--ahead of the rest of the family--two flights--DC to Chicago and Chicago to Milwaukee.

I was in awe. All day.

I remember Christmas 1988 like it was yesterday. I saddled up next to that window and attempted to take it all in. Every light in the distance was a Christmas tree and my heart was full. My dad loved me. My dad trusted me. I was going to get to see my friends. The world was an amazing place. I was flying home on Christmas Day all by myself.

It's now December 2016 and I'm flying alone--DC to Chicago. I just said goodbye to much of the same family from that Christmas back in 1988. Today, however, there is no fanfare. No heart welled up with pride. No childlike wonder. But I am noticing myself. My experience has me thinking; what about that 17-year-old version of me do I want to bring back? What is still there? What do I need to drop?

What I want to bring back: I want to live my life with my eyes glued to the window. Wonder at the amazingness of life, at other humans, at the chance to fly, to communicate, to be alone but so utterly connected. I want to believe in trust and love. Too often in this life, I choose to believe the worst narratives that I tell myself. I focus so intently on what's missing, I miss what is right in front of me. A world of family and friends oozing with trust and love.

What I want to keep doing: I want to keep exploring this great big world. That year--1988--sparked my wanderlust. I had traveled to Ecuador during the summer with my first plane ride and Christmas Day had me thinking of all the possibility this life had. The entire world was within reach and I would see it. This year--2016--feels like a fulfillment of those dreams. If you've seen my Instagram this year, you know what I mean.

What do I want to finally stop: I want to stop traveling away from my family. (Both physically and metaphorically) I notice today, 28 years later, as I just spent the last 5 days with my relatives, that my most daring adventure might just be to travel towards the people closest to me. It's easy for me to meet new people and express love and affection. What's much tougher is to truly honor my less-than perfect parents. It's easy to explore new cities and countries. It's much tougher to ask my older brother for forgiveness for shutting him out of my life for 35 years. It's easy to lean on my good friends. It's seems impossible to look my sister in the eye and say I'm sorry for thinking and living like I was better than her.

What's your story? Think about a moment in your past that you are reminded of today. What would you want to rekindle? What do you want to revel in? What requires a u-turn; right now?

I'd love to hear about it.

Check out our last 6 eNewsletters:

November 4, 2016--Crossing the Continental Divide (Both Literally and Metaphorically)

May 13, 2016-Are You Embracing Your Goo?

April 6, 2016--Micromanagement is Good Management

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