Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Not Silent Night

Being alone is rough. Being alone on Christmas, I think, will just plain suck.

No kids. No loved ones. No special someone. Nobody to enjoy a cup of egg nog (does anyone actually enjoy egg nog?) in front of a fire (if I had a fireplace) with.

No squeals of joy from little ones when they see what Santa brought them this year.

It would be easy to mope. To get down. To say "screw this" and turn Christmas into a 12-pack induced pity party.

But as I stood on my balcony tonight, pondering my first real Christmas all alone EVER in my life, I realized it could be much worse.

I could be alone, and homeless.

I could have nobody who cares about me...which I know is not the case.

I could be hungry and not sure where to find a meal.

I could be estranged from my childrens' lives and not know that they like raisin bran more than cheerios, and donuts over bagels.

I could be fighting for my country halfway around the world, worrying about being blown up by a guy with a garage door opener, away from my loved ones with no chance of seeing them anytime soon.

Or I could be gone from this world, dust in the wind, and not be able to wake up Christmas morning and take a deep breath of the cold air and thank God for being alive this day.

So Christmas Eve, I'll put on my snow boots and trudge through whatever amount of snow down the street, go to a Christmas service, and thank God for what I have in my life:

- Two amazing sons who never cease to amaze me or bring a smile to my face.
- Countless friends who are always there for me and always find a way to make me laugh.
- An amazing family who has helped me out through some rough times in the last few years (Thank you Mom, Dad, Dave, Jim, and your families).
- The fact that I understand that my life is not about my possessions, my income, my things, but about who I am as a person, and how I treat the people around me.

Standing on the balcony alone tonight, I heard from across the street ice skates shushing across a rink, and the sound of a puck being smacked off a stick, then hitting the rink wall with a loud "thump." As the snow lightly fell, I heard the sound of a shovel scraping against a sidewalk, scratching its way from clean white to dirty gray. From a distant snowbank, the sound of children taking delight in the early stages of the "stormegeddon" can be heard.

What a beautiful, peaceful and not so silent night.

Merry Christmas! May your nights never be silent.

Friday, December 4, 2009

What matters in life...a no brainer

As 2009 winds down, I look back on what without question was the most difficult and challenging year of my life.

Losing my job, and being on unemployment for nearly 10 months.

Losing my townhouse, and having to scramble to find a place to shelter my sons and continue to feed them.

Losing what I thought was a solid relationship, and in the process learning so much more about people and what to look for in the people I allow in my life.

But the old saying has never been more true for me than before, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

As I look forward to 2010, I look forward to a major career shift, one that will allow me to use my skills in a new way, and one that rather than always facing catastrophe when the economy gets shaky, will allow for growth.

I also have streamlined and simplified my life in a way that has really gotten me back to the basics, like many Americans still need to learn. My sons have learned that "things" are not what is important, but people...and that when they get some special things, they appreciate them even more.

And, most importantly, I have learned that the true friends in my life are there no matter what my job title is, no matter how much is in my bank account. Really the true friends are there no matter what, period.

And you know who you are. You have stood by me and let me vent out my frustrations, or helped me move on a moment's notice, or helped me find some part time work to help pay the bills. You've given me reasons to laugh and smile, and thanked me when I helped you laugh or smile. To each and everyone of you, I can't say thank you enough for being a true friend, and for all you did.

As 2010 approaches, I have re-learned such a simple, but true lesson - you cannot measure a person by their wealth in dollars, but you can measure a person in their wealth of friends and family. And I am the richest mofo I know in that regard.

Happy Holidays to everyone, and may 2010 be an amazing year of self-discovery and growth for all of you!