Christmas in New York. Could anything be more perfect? The city changes. Each day something new comes into view and these small accumulations result in utter transformation. Holiday window displays. An influx of tourists. Twinkling white lights--they're everywhere. The fine people at Time Warner center have even gotten it to snow. Yes, snow. Inside. It snows inside the building. And my personal favorite: Christmas tree tunnels. That's what I call the impromptu vendors that pop up all over the place to pawn off their best fir trees. You're walking along and all the sudden the sky is obscured by green. For a passing moment you're transported, by smell alone, to a world where everyone wears snowsuit jumpers and the decoration of choice (besides the tree itself) is the miniature Rudolph made from cut branches and trunk, with a little tinsel thrown on for luck. This city was made for Christmas. The season breathes new life into the well tread streets. New York lights up, literally and figuratively.. Nothing could be more glamorous.
Nothing could be more glamorous? I'll tell you about glamorous...my room is covered in laundry. Everywhere I turn I find another renegade sock. The air has turned so bitter I can barely keep my eyes open if I'm walking against the wind. And tonight my friends and I had a fantastic dinner party. At McDonalds. Glamorous indeed. I'm working two jobs and still short on rent, but 'tis the season.
Back when I went to a school where midterms and finals were par for the course, I used to try to put off any holiday spirit until all tests were safely taken. Holiday spirit was not to be trusted. This was a bad idea. I literally bred any holiday spirit right out of my genetic make up. Well, I didn't breed it out literally, but you know what I mean. In re-inventing myself into someone destined for Harvard (cue laughs for irony), I lost that part of myself that got the feeling. You know the feeling I mean. That giggle that sits in the stomach. The lurch that counts down the days. That pull that orbits around ice-skating and holiday cookies. The internal alarm clock that won't let you sleep past seven, the morning of the 25th. Now my family usually wakes me at eleven and I get out of bed somewhat begrudgingly.
This morning on the subway, on my way to training for my new (seasonal) job, I actually cried. Then I cried this evening at McDonalds, but that's another story. The holidays can be a lonely time when you're without a family. I know, I know, of course I have a family. What I mean is--that period between leaving home, and then leaving school, before you find the person you know you'll work to make happy everyday just for the chance to never have to spend another Christmas without him--that's a funny time. I used to have a plan. Go to school. Live my life, fully, all by myself. Have a torrid love affair with a man from every major European country, know that I could die happy, then (and only then) settle down. My rational was this: most of us spend the first eighteen years of our life tied to our family. The next four tied to school. If the average American gets married at 26 and dates their mate for a year before exchanging rings, this leaves that same average American three years. Three years just for them. Three years of a whole life--that's nothing! Now, I think what I've been secretly hoping for is the man who will ruin my plan. The man who will knock it upside and in doing so make me wonder why I haven't always had the perfect blue of the sky under my feet.
What I'm trying to say is...this period of not belonging is hard. And so sometimes I cry. A lot. Because as beautiful as the lights and sounds and smells all are, sometimes I wish I had someone to share them with, whether it be the family I've known all my life, or the family that's out there waiting for me. Because coming in from the cold to a mine-field of laundry isn't so glamorous. Not at all.
That being said, I got a package in the mail today. My blue Santa. I picked him out from Lord and Taylor's a few years ago and he's been my decoration of choice ever since (or at least since my mom broke my most perfect tree ornament from Bethlehem (Bethlehem, NY that is ) and left it in the trash for me to find). My mom sent him. If I hadn't left my camera in Colorado, I'd take a picture and post it. But for now just imagine the most beautiful wood-carved, hearty Santa, the world has ever known. And while he arrived slightly chipped (or not so slightly) I was reminded that family is not so far away. Not ever.
So tonight as I braved the biting winter air. I saw the city as it's meant to be. Dazzling. Simply dazzling. Because tonight I felt hopeful. Hope. I don't think love or faith can exist without it. Hopeful that I'm on the right path. Hopeful that this economic crisis will pass. Hopeful that my life will always be colored by an abundance of love from a family that's never more than a phone call away.