1. Family isn’t just blood
It’s so easy to get sucked into loneliness during the holiday season. From Christmas songs on the radio, to happy couples shopping hand-in-hand, to mistletoe at every corner, to families walking down the streets in their matching winter jackets—when you look around, it seems like everyone’s cuddled up with their loved ones, everyone’s in the holiday spirit, everyone’s happy and content and at peace. And then there’s you, moseying through the aisles, searching for ice cream to take home and eat on the couch alone.
When it feels like the rest of the world is in the Christmas spirit, you can unconsciously drag yourself down. Not being able to spend time with family can eat a heart-sized hole in your chest, and even though you know you’re loved, you start to forget. You start to feel abandoned. You start to believe that you’re facing these days alone. But you’re not. Because the truth is, family isn’t just blood.
For whatever reason, you’re apart from your family this holiday, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be filled with joy and light. Friends are the family you choose. So surround yourself with the people that make you smile. Host a ‘Friendsgiving’ or a night where everyone comes over for conversation, food, and drinks. Reach out to other people in your group who might not have a place to go for the holiday. Acknowledge that friendship is a bond that can run just as deep, and celebrate the people you’re surrounded by, instead of yearning for the ones you aren’t.
2. Physical distance doesn’t determine emotional closeness.
There may be plane rides and car drives between you and your immediate family. There may be expenses you can’t keep up with, or miles that can’t be shortened due to a change or circumstance out of your control. But regardless of the situation, remind yourself that physical distance doesn’t determine how close you and your loved ones are.
Despite the roads, the bodies of water, the obstacles that may be between you and someone you love, your relationship will not change. So hop on FaceTime, get on Skype, schedule hours for extra phone calls, and send intentional texts. Know that you are close to family in heart, and at the end of the day, that is what matters—not the physical.
3. Love has no boundaries.
Love is not determined by space. It will cross through oceans and deserts, through forests and cities and time-zones. It does not adhere to human rules. It does not break, simply because there is distance between, or because two people are unable to see one another for a certain period of time.
Love knows no boundaries. Remind yourself of this when you’re feeling empty, when you’re exhausted by the happiness of the holidays you’ve been unable to feel in your own chest. Remind yourself that the ones you love won’t simply disappear because you can’t see them this month or the next. Remind yourself that despite all the impermanence in this world, love stays.
4. Home is not a place.
Home is not four walls and a roof. It’s not the house you grew up in, the town where you found yourself, even the streets and sidewalks of the place you feel most comfortable in right now.
As you grow, ‘home’ will shift and change based on the people, based on who you become, based on the things you encounter and the relationships you build as you go. So when you’re feeling separated from the people you love the most, when it seems like you’re a thousand miles away from everyone that reminds you of ‘home,’ tell yourself this—home is not a place. Because it’s not.
Home is a feeling.
And that feeling can follow you wherever you go.
Your family will always be home. And you can still be at home anywhere because you can be with that family in spirit, even if you can’t be with them physically. Your friends can be ‘home’ too. So can people you learn to love and so can a new city or place, regardless of the fact that it’s not where you’ve always been.
This holiday, celebrate home as an emotion—as what and who you’re surrounded by. And be blessed by the love around you right here, right now.