The Christmas Letter I Did Not Write


I never write a Christmas letter anymore.  I don’t send Christmas cards.  Funny how those traditions just seem to fade.  With a divorce, with grown kids, with the passage of time, all things change.  I have lost some dear people and animals in the month of December, and the snow on the ground and lights on the houses sometimes are a reminder to me of these dear missed souls.

I try to be festive and jolly.  I’m a new person in town, and I am blessed to have my family.  But party dresses gather dust in the closet. Most of the spiked eggnog drinking I do is at home watching Netflix.  Lights sparkle and beckon as I walk the dog down dark streets.  I imagine the lives that are being lived inside the houses.   I wonder if my ex is celebrating with a special lady who is everything to him that I was not?  I think about the many Christmas trees I have decorated, the many people who have been in and out of my life.  I use this time to reflect on the year that is coming to a close, and to make wishes and dreams for the coming year.

And so, I will write this Christmas letter to myself, to remind myself what I have done, and to hint at things to come.

Last January I celebrated New Years eve with my sister and her husband by going to a Black and White ball sponsored by Elephantjournal, a magazine I started writing for the previous summer.  I wore my Dominatrix boots.

I got on an airplane a week later and flew to El Calafate, Argentina.  This was the beginning of a four-month trip, traversing the continent of South America alone, by bus.  I sat in the blue glow of the Perito Moreno glacier and was stunned by the deep connection I felt to humanity.  I made my way through Buenos Aires, Eco Yoga Park (where I ate vegan meals, worked in the garden, and meditated with Hare Krisha monks), visited the stunning Iguazu Falls, and went on to San Juan, where I worked in a hostel, was bitten by bed bugs, and met some charming boys who kept me up all night drinking red wine and singing on the rooftop.

From there I spent some time in Chile – at a charming beach town called Maitencillo, and in Santiago, where I was robbed of some money, but determined not to be robbed of my fun.  I spent my 49th birthday dancing salsa at a party restaurant in Santiago with my new friends there.  Then I visited the beach at Con Con, and the arid desert of San Pedro de Atacama.

Peru was next, an amazing few days in Cuzco and a trip to Machu Picchu.  I meditated looking out over the famous ancient ruins, and I kept the leaf that drifted down and landed at my feet.  It sits on my altar at home as a reminder that there are indeed magical moments in this world. I spent another week at the beach in the surf village of Lobitos, staying in the regal dilapidated old general’s house, where we were without water to shower for almost a week, but I made some friends, learned to surf, and saw some miraculous sunsets.

As the South America trip was winding down I went to Cuenca, Ecuador, where I met an amazing guitarist at a tea bar.  I met him on a Friday, moved in with him on Sunday, and left on Wednesday, tears in my eyes, knowing  I may never again sip my coffee each day listening to the beautiful “tremulo” of talented fingers on the guitar.

Finally, I spent a glorious month in Costa Rica, attending a yoga teacher training.  I met many incredible yogis, did two hours on the mat every morning at 6 AM, ate fresh mango and watch toucans fly through the trees.  We studied mudras, mantras, bandhas, and dissected all the asanas.  I left fit and happy, with a certificate in hand and new friends to encourage me.

During the summer I got a job teaching preschool, and secured another job for the fall doing the same.  I went to Copper Mountain for Wanderlust, a four-day yoga and music festival, where I volunteered and took several classes a day, heard some remarkable speakers (like Aron Ralston, the “127 hours” guy) and met an acquisitions person for a book publisher.

In October I moved into the beautiful 1930’s bungalow I bought two years earlier, and was joined by my nineteen year old daughter and her wonderful dog. 

As 2012 comes to a close, I look back on the amazing gift I gave myself: the gift of a year “off” – time to travel, to grow, to write.  In 2013 I have a good job, a plan to pay off my Discover card J, and 125,000 words in a travel memoir to play with, edit down, polish up, and send off.  As I look at turning 50, I am grateful for the years I have been given, and plan to do as much as I can to get out into the world and be a part of it by connecting with other people: through yoga, through travel, through sharing my writing.  On the agenda:  a surf and yoga trip to California to celebrate 50, a trip to India, or maybe the Tiger Temple in Thailand – where Buddhist monks raise tigers and lead meditation retreats.  I plan to enroll in an MFA program, be continued support for my parents and my daughters, and learn and live, and remember to smile!

Maybe I’ll even get a puppy!

Wishing you all joy for the new year – CatnipImage


About catnipkiss

I am a writer who is working on a travel memoir. I write about issues that speak to my soul: love, sex, yoga, spirituality, body image, dating and friendship, and more as it comes up! I love comments - thanks! What would YOU like to explore?
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7 Responses to The Christmas Letter I Did Not Write

  1. Marcy says:

    Wow! For some reason that made me cry…not sure why…maybe because I’m along this week, maybe I’m a little jealous of your jet-set life? (BTW–you left out your trip to Germany!) I think you are an amazing woman, an inspiration and I’m so very glad I met you. Hope to see you soon…Love, Marcy

  2. What a wonderful “Christmas letter”, and what an amazing year. May the new year be filled with love and adventure!

    • catnipkiss says:

      thanks for reading, Sandra. It was an amazing year. I just have to keep remembering, there are good surprises in store! Thank you for your good wishes, and the same to you! XO

  3. harriet bissell says:

    nice – you should print out a copy of it and put it in your scrapbook…good summary of a good year.
    But there are blessings and joys in the daily life – sacred moments occur all the time

  4. I like the way this post started out pretty sadly and kind of just … kept on going … until the sadness faded. 🙂

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