Like so many others, fall is my most favorite time of year. It is the beginning of countless celebrations, traditions, camping trips, etc. For me, regardless of what it feels like outside, fall begins with a caramel apple at the annual county fair and it only gets better from there! There’s birthday parties (mine, mom’s Chase’s), Halloween (my best holiday), Thanksgiving, and of course, Christmas; which isn’t technically during the fall season but it happens to be the perfect ending to “the most wonderful time of the year.” All of these events are so special mainly because of the family and friends with whom they are spent.
This year I find myself celebrating each of those events in a foreign land. While I am thankful for this journey, I cannot help but long for home and crave the traditions which I hold so dearly. My birthday didn’t end with a piece of cake baked by my momma and Halloween didn’t include a chili supper while passing out candy to adorable costumed children. Thanksgiving won’t find me in a turkey induced coma. There will be no tacky sweater parties during Christmas or sharing a home cooked breakfast with my family. While this journey is grand, part of me feels as though I am missing out on some level. The traditions and family have been removed making those typically somewhat special days fall short of what they have been in the past.
I snorkeled off of a tiny island in Indonesia for my 35th birthday, yet I was still a little distressed that I didn’t get to devour a piece of cake. How ridiculous is that?! It is frustrating because I am aware of of how marvelous our situation is. I know that everyday is full of life-changing experiences. I fully understand that it is absurd for me to have these feelings yet they are still present. However, I can say that I’m learning; I’m growing; Im changing. I am a work in progress. I am cognizant of the fact that comparison is the thief of joy. Therefore, I’m practicing on appreciating each day and taking them as they come. I had the wrong expectations set out for these events. Clearly those times will be drastically different because of my location alone, not to mention the lack of the people which truly make those days/times what they are.
This fall season hasn’t been consumed with pumpkin spice everything (or pumpkin spice ANYTHING, for that matter). I haven’t been to one pumpkin patch or haunted house. I haven’t been camping or roasted a single marshmallow over a fire. I haven’t gotten to feel a crisp fall breeze or witness the changing of the leaves. Although, I HAVE hiked a volcano, swam with sea turtles, and watched komodo dragons in the wild. I’ve held monkeys, watched a movie on the beach, and shared Indonesian meals with new friends from all over the globe. So while my heart may ache for the familiar, I’m aiming to soak up the present. Christmas won’t be spent sharing stories with family around the tree. However, this year it may just include a trek through a jungle full of orangutans or a stroll through an elephant sanctuary. Life is taking me to new places so it is imperative that I learn to appreciate the road in which I am currently traveling.