December was an unexpected month. I mean, not that exactly — I absolutely knew that December would come after November, as did everyone else who uses the Gregorian calendar or is at least four years old and living in the Western hemisphere. I mean more that this December wasn’t what I expected.
Going through the month, I felt like the days were passing too quickly and I couldn’t keep up. I searched for “Christmas spirit” everywhere but couldn’t seem to find it. I did not bake a single batch of cookies the entire month. For a girl who likes to bake at least a half-dozen recipes, bring cookies and such into work or drop goodies off at friends’ homes, and save a sampler platter to bring to her Dad in Tennessee, that was a pretty low blow for everyone involved.
While it was happening, it didn’t feel like anything. I didn’t really know what I was walking through. I didn’t really blog (sorry readers), I didn’t really work out (sorry pants), and I didn’t read very much or complete any more of the awesome online classes I started. I barely finished listening to Serial. Looking back, though, I can see that this past December was so good for me. December was a month where my loneliness was met week after week by lovely new friends.
The thing about being career-minded and married and moving to a new city as an adult is that your friends are often very far away. Instead of seeing them every other day, you see them just once or twice each year. It’s natural to feel lonely in your new city. But, if you are like me, you might not recognize that loneliness even when it is filling your life. I apparently confuse it with things like work stress, seasonal allergies, or the crippling emotional blow that is entering another winter in Chicago. (I mean, seriously. It is cold.) And then I convince myself that work stress, allergies, or cold weather are good reasons NOT to go out and spend time with new friends, which compounds the loneliness that I haven’t even noticed I have.
I can be such a dummy.
The past six weeks my Chicago people and out of town guests totally rejuvenated me. Thanks to Abby for visiting pre-Thanksgiving and reuniting me with some lovely ladies I hadn’t seen in too many months. Thanks to the awesome book release party for connecting me with people I care about but haven’t seen in ages. Thanks to little girls who take dance classes and brought me to my first-ever showing of the Nutcracker (FYI the Nutcracker is WEIRD!) — and to the awesome hosts of the post-performance shindig. Thanks to the friend who came to stay with us for a week while attending a conference in the city. Thanks to my awesome family and in-laws for fun activities and hang outs over the holidays, and thanks especially to the two couples that joined us here in our Chicago apartment for New Years’ Eve fireworks. I had forgotten how much fun it was to relax, sip on homemade cocktails, bake a cake, and just have fun.
I watched some TV and read a few books and went to some cool places over the last month, but I’ll catch you up on those things later. For now, when I think about this December, I think about you. Thanks, friends, for making this life more awesome.
As I usually do, today I’m linking up with the fabulous Leigh Kramer to share what I was into during the previous month. For great shows to watch, books to read, recipes to try and internet things to click on, check out all of the posts here.