It’s a little over a month into my boyfriend’s deployment and I’m learning the meaning of “lonely” in a whole different kind of way. I’ve found that it feels kind of like going through a breakup. There are the same pangs of longing that you can’t do anything about. There are the times where you want so badly to talk to them, to see them, but you can’t. Literally. There is no way to reach the person you love. There are good days, there are bad days. There are really bad days. And there are great days.
The holiday season and its traditions make missing him both more and less bearable. Here in Nashville it has been ultra gloomy lately – I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the sun once in the past 2.5 weeks – so that’s helping about as much as locking your car keys in the trunk helps you get to work. But the decorations, the lights, and the holiday spirit everywhere (even those kitschy turn-your-car-into-Rudolph kits) all make things a little brighter.
When I was little, holidays always meant long road trips to see both sets of grandparents. We didn’t have many set traditions. Beyond the obligatory family-ness, the one thing that comes to mind is staying at the Drury Inn in Champaign, IL, mostly just to swim at their heated indoor-outdoor pool and marvel at swimming outside in 20 degree weather, banks of snow piled around the pool.
Now, as a 20-something vegetarian only child with no grandparents left, holiday traditions are simple and lovely, spent with my parents in the country. But this year, with the gloom of deployment and the general gloom of Nashville, I’m finding myself reaching for something extra to hold onto in this season of loneliness. In my searching, I remembered my list of personal commandments (as suggested by The Happiness Project). I’ve blogged about them before, but I’ve added on since then. And besides, I needed a little reminder of them, so I figured the short term collective memory of the blogosphere wouldn’t mind if I retouched them, either. They are everyday traditions, if you will, applicable to every season. Here they are, paired with some quotes that eloquently expand upon what I strive for in each personal commandment.
Don’t be so fond of safety.
Do what love requires of you.
Choose faith over fear.
Dust off your little-girl dreams.
If you want to say it, say it.
Cultivate gratitude with each step.
Refuse to go backward.
Create blessings for generations.
Pain isn’t a reason to stop.
Choose authenticity over perfection.
Seek salty seas.
Make passionate mistakes.
Have the courage to start with nothing.
Arrange your space with grace and balance.
Here’s to making these commandments my everyday “traditions,” because you can’t just expect happiness delivered to your doorstep every morning.