I put my Christmas tree up a week and a half before Thanksgiving.

Because I wanted to, and because it felt joyful – and I’ve felt pretty joyful lately.

Because life is good. And because life is hard. Because sometimes I cry, and sometimes days are hard. But there’s always a silver lining – which seems to take so many different forms, I can’t even count them lately. But overall, it’s all just so wonderfully good. Because even when it isn’t, there’s laughter in a story or comfort in not being the only one who has done something without thinking.

So, I put up my Christmas tree. With an extra strand of lights, and as many glitter ornaments as Walmart carried last year.

Last year was my first Christmas truly by myself. Previously, I either lived with my parents, or I was at school, or I went home from school or I had a boyfriend. Regardless, last year was my first Christmas in my own apartment, with my own puppy and my own decorations. So I did exactly what I wanted – which was all the silver and gold and perceived classy Christmas ornaments I could find.

And I dressed my dog up in reindeer antlers and sent Christmas cards and did every cliche Christmas thing I could think of. And dated a guy I was into in the beginning, but eventually talked myself out of because of one reason or another – who knows at this point what my actual thoughts were. Truthfully. But I wasn’t single on Christmas and he had a lot of qualities I appreciated – even if just to realize those qualities still exist in people.

But I did Christmas exactly the way I wanted. And I spent New Years in Nashville. I liked it well enough, but told the guy I was seeing it was just okay – probably because I wanted to see where that was headed and I didn’t want him to think I loved it that much. It wasn’t a fantastic visit. It was crowded and streets were closed, and Samantha and i spent a lot of money on useless things.

But we spent New Years at the Bluebird. And probably spent too much money on those tickets. Because that was the theme of the trip. But it was magical – in the way that things that are meant to be seem before they’re actually meant to be.

And then that whole dating thing didn’t work out. I decided I wanted to move, because there was magic in the air, after all. So I worked and I saved and I moved and I cried and I smiled.

Which led me to this exact moment. Where I feel grateful – just the way a person should the week before Thanksgiving. My Christmas tree shines bright. My dog is next to me. I miss my family, but I’m so grateful for phones and videos and a group of people who love me even when I don’t understand why I do things.

A year ago, i would’ve never pictured this is where I would be. I like dreams and more than that, I like daydreams – but turning them into something? I suppose I haven’t ever done that before. Not really. At least not on this scale. Until now. And I suppose until now it’s never made quite as much sense.

But I understand why I did this, even if it’s just because it feels right – even on days that things are hard. Because sometimes the larger picture means more than the details. The details are tricky, but this picture – this picture feels right.

And I’m grateful.

On Thursday I’ll make green beans like my mom does every Thanksgiving, and a chocolate pie, because my Granny always made one for me. And I’ll miss them as I surround myself with new people and new friends in a new place.

But I’m so grateful.


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