If we're all really honest with ourselves, 2016 has been a weird (read: bad) year. Lots of strange things that I never thought could happen have actually happened (yes, maybe there's a little bit of a political reference there). But all in all, 2016 has been perplexing. I wrote this post back in January after taking a long break from social media. Then I wrote this post in June after going on an unplanned blogging hiatus. And to be really honest, all those emotions from those two posts are still right here in my heart. That post from January may be the most honest I've ever been on this blog. And I know that lots of other almost-30-somethings feel the same way. So, here I am on the verge of thirty, feeling really. . .unsure.
With everything that's happened in the last two days with one of my favorite places in the whole world being nearly destroyed, I decided to take a minute today to just speak from my heart and put a pause on the holiday cheer. Cause sometimes it's just not the right time for a gift guide.
For those of you who have grown up similarly to me, or relocated to an area like mine, you know how those places get in your heart and your soul and your bones, and they just don't let go. So, yesterday, as I watched news coverage and saw photos of my beloved Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains going up in flames, I stopped for just a minute and thought about how it would feel to have that happen here - in my little town.
We all have those places that we remember from our childhood. Those places that hit you real deep when you think about them and can even make you tear up if it's an especially emotional day. That's how I feel about East Tennessee. We spent my entire childhood going to Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg multiple times a year and had Dollywood season passes for years. It's the most surreal, scary feeling to think about those places being gone. . .
This time of year always gives me mixed emotions, too. I love the holidays, don't get me wrong. But after my grandparents passed away several years ago, it really hasn't been the same or meant as much to me. The holidays are always full of lots of highs and lows and oftentimes, life events are magnified during this time of year. Kacey Musgraves wrote the most perfect song about it.
I find myself getting emotional about things that wouldn't normally affect me. Y'all know what I mean, right? Someone holds the door open for you. Tears. Someone cuts you off on the interstate. Tears. Your mom calls to talk about weekend plans. Tears. Y'all get the idea.
Like that Dolly Parton quote that I included at the beginning of this post, it's so easy sometimes to get wrapped up in those emotional moments or that extra dollar to be made or making life perfect that you actually forget to just stop and enjoy the life that's been given to you. Guilty.
I've become much more mindful of this the older I've gotten. Have I ever told you guys how high strung and wound tight I used to be? That probably deserves a blog post of its own. But, long story short, when I dodged that bullet and almost got married a few years ago, my world was rocked. My life changed. I changed. I assessed the value of all the people in my life. And here I am. And here they are with me. The ones who truly matter. Life is way too short to waste it on shitty people. Yep, I said it. . .
So, here we are at the end of 2016, and for some reason it feels especially important to evaluate, take inventory, and figure some stuff out. This is a year that would be served well with a "redo" button. Y'all know I'm right. I really just wanted to take a minute today to get real, let you know other people are feeling the same way you are, and it's time to hold those people who are extra important to you, extra close. If this year is any indication of the near future, it's high time we start counting our blessings and editing our friends list.
Sending you lots of love and hugs and wishes for stiff drinks on those extra hard days! xo