“You are my home; I will always come back to you.”
The holiday season is meant to evoke feelings of love, comfort, and connection; but, that isn’t always the case for everyone. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can also occur during these longer, darker days, leading to feelings of sadness and isolation. And this time of year can be particularly difficult for anyone who 1) lives far away from home and can’t visit, 2) has a strained or difficult family dynamic, 3) live alone, and/or 4) has a history of mood disorders including SAD I, as luck would have it, fall into three of these four categories.
Without fail, some point around late-September/early-October, a lightbulb burns out in my soul and I miss home terribly. I wish that I could say this is when I hop online and find the best price on a roundtrip ticket to my hometown, but it’s quite the opposite; I dread the guilt of not wanting to go. I start mentally preparing for the obligatory holiday trifecta correspondences — “Happy Thanksgiving!” “Merry Christmas!” “Happy New Year!” — all day, sporadically throughout the day, sometimes from phone numbers I don’t even recognize. And the more I study different culture and religions, the less I want to “celebrate” all of these state-sanctioned days, but I digress.
Home, for me, is not a place, and it hasn’t been for a long time. Home is people; specifically, two people. Let’s call them K and M.
Whenever ‘tis the season to be merry, ‘tis the season for me to terribly miss K and M. Doesn’t matter if we talk once a year or once a week, I miss them like crazy. I realized it’s because they both came into my life at a time when actual home life was unstable. They gave me all the things I was missing and I carry such adoration and gratitude for them with me always especially when I’m feeling down (like October through January).
Knowing there are people across the country who have arms like shelter ready to receive me lights a candle in my heart on the darkest of days. I’ve found home in others, too, of course: in my husband’s hugs and my sisters’ laughter. And in the annoying excitement of my dogs when I get home from work. (Why can’t they let me get through the door?!) And in places like Coronado Beach in Southern California.
So, what is “home” to you? Is it a building? A city? People? A certain scent? Think about this for a bit. And if this time of years tends to get you down, find a way to incorporate a little bit of “home” into your holidays.
–from The “Keep It Light, Love” Newsletter: Volume 1, Issue 1, November 2016