Stand Alone Beneath the Mistletoe

December 14 – December 20

Let’s start this with an excerpt from one of my favorite films:

“I always saw Christmas as a declaration to show where you stood in life. And for me, I was going to spend this Christmas getting drunk and getting stoned. ”

Hugh Grant, About a Boy (2003)

Christmas is only a week away. Yet, this busy week leading up to it is conviction enough for me to really understand that path for myself that I have been treading down.

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Two years ago when I left college, there were no jobs to be found on my little experience and underdeveloped writing. So I took up retail in a lovely but fast-paced paperie and stationery store in the city while commuting half of my grad life from BART train to BART train and even Muni bus. Add on the Craigslist freelancing and internship, and we find ourselves climbing a steady grade away from this bottom. And as I approach this Christmas, I think now back onto all these career changes, home changes, and relationships through the years since. But, let’s just narrow these findings down to the week. The week seeming not too promising as I suffered lack of sleep and two-day old makeup from SantaCon at a lunch with my parents when I should have been at work. But, upsides– here we were eating steak-fries and mussels at a beautifully intimate French bistro across from the gates of Chinatown surrounded by the bustle of San Francisco during Christmas.

If you were to present this scene in a snow globe to my past self, perhaps those two years would have been spared of all the tears.

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For all that the week before Christmas reveals, it’s that I still have a ways to go, but to what? My job has evolved in more ways I couldn’t have imagined it would, my paycheck has increased, and I’ve lived longer than expected in my warm corner apartment where friends freely gather for hot chocolate and brandy and bacon. Friends that weren’t there before. But life doesn’t stop at a happy spot in time– it defeats its own purpose. Even at one of the most anticipated affairs of the season, the Wish Holiday Party, it couldn’t all be champagne and roses (or more truthfully, champagne and prosciutto). I was distracted, and drunk, and feeling rather un-glamorous. It was the night that made everything magical and all was not. I was dateless and feeling like the dress I wore wasn’t spectacular, and my Joan Harris-inspired updo was too matronly. At least I got to take photos, and looking back on them, all my fuss was for nothing. So sometimes you worry about your current conducts, you worry that life in the now is not living up to the standards of the Love Actually storyline you’re meant to be living, according to that Buzzfeed quiz. But in trying to meet expectations, I’ve forgotten that, as a writer, I make my own story. The purpose of this life I have chosen for myself is never to have full satisfaction at any given point in my life.

But it shall be a gentle, kind journey. I am alone this Christmas and the gift I was seeking will be for another December– maybe sooner, maybe later. But in the direction life is headed is a gift of itself– perseverance and the right choices. Stay hopeful and kind– and in consequence of these values, have gained myself many meaningful relationships. These are people who move me forward in the difficult road that is the life of a twenty-year-old; girl friends who enjoy wine as much as you do and allow you to share a bed in their Russian Hill place overlooking Alcatraz and an empty lot where a witch’s house once stood. Friends from afar and would return afar this winter, but not before pulling you aside to present you one of the most ingenious mugs ever created– a gift that remains a symbol of their sincerity and sweetness to you just as you had wished to show back to the world.

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This is the time to find where we really stand in life. Where I find myself is not where I thought I’d see myself, standing alone beneath this hypothetical mistletoe. But not without the right place, time, and remarkable friends not too far from me and telling me to keep on waiting. They see that I don’t have to wait much longer, for really I wait for nothing. I stand now in my life and alone here, and that’s the best gift that I could give myself, the love and acceptance, and encouragement, of me. Until that next December hits I am alone and I am okay and I am in love with only myself and what I’ve done to get here–

and any addition to this pleasant party of one shall be most welcomed.

 

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