My First Christmas in New York (2020 Covid Edition)

As I write this, it is 8:24 PM on Christmas Eve. My apartment is in transition because I began re-arranging at around 7. So far the kitchen table has moved closer to the window, and the living room is closer to the entryway. Seeing as how I live in a one-room studio, re-arranging is both simple and complicated.

It’s my first Christmas in New York, and my second Christmas away from my parents and siblings. Growing up, my Mom, Dad, and little brother would watch Die Hard by the fire and go to bed happy. We would wake up and unwrap presents, and my mom always hid a corner present for us to hunt down once all the other presents were opened. I have truly happy memories of Christmases past, which is more than what some can say. I am grateful for those memories.

Tonight, it’s just me and my cat, DC. She is confused by the sudden re-arranging of furniture, but I can’t tell whether she likes it or not. Her opinions only really surface around mealtimes.

Anyway, this year is different not just because it’s my first Christmas as a New Yorker, it’s the world’s first Christmas with Covid on our minds. I am not the only one separated from my family this year, and I feel selfishly happy that I’m not alone in being lonely for my family. The global pandemic has separated many loved ones from familiar annual holiday gatherings.

I do have a Christmas tree. It is partially lit by white lights because I didn’t buy enough. I’ve decorated the tree with Christmas cards friends and family sent me, and a glass Aspen leaf I bought last week when I visited Denver, CO.

Under the tree are a bunch of presents. I went shopping for myself. I didn’t want to wake up tomorrow without presents to unwrap. I must remember to hide my corner gift. I know – I’ll make the package my parents sent into this year’s corner present.

I know the items I purchased will make me happy, and looking at them waiting for me under the tree also fills me with a sense of well-being. I am so grateful for the financial and physical ability to go out and shop for myself, and get myself nice things that I’ve been eying all year.

It’s really windy outside. Last week, it snowed a bunch but it’s all melted now. I’m sitting in a t-shirt and lightweight linen pants with all two of my windows open. I recently read that it’s good luck to open all the windows at midnight Christmas Eve, to let out all the bad spirits.

It really is the most wonderful time of the year, because it’s a time of reflection and looking ahead. Christmas is a pinnacle and crossroads, if you will. I get to remember my childhood holidays, reflect on what I did this year, and ponder where I’ll be next year.

I have it on my heart to be here next year – well, I may be in Aruba on actual Christmas, but I see myself living in this flat for one more year. however, by this time 2021 I am committed to begin the search for a different, better flat.

You see a year from now, 365 days, I will have been in the City for a year and six months. By then, I’ll be established financially in such a way that can deepen and widen my goals. Living in a nicer apartment and having good investments are in my future plans.

My writing has no choice but to evolve in the next year, as well. I started taking this blog more seriously when I quit my job at the University of Texas to go freelance, and then again when I moved to New York. Gaining a wider audience, monetizing the blog and increasing my freelance portfolio are all part of 2021 vision. By 2022, God willing, I’ll be making much more money writing, and have my writing in various online rags with wide audiences.

I feel proud of what I did with my writing in 2020 – I wrote a lot more on Just Pearly Things and gained more followers, as well as branching out and advertising my blog on Instagram. I guess it feels good to promote myself and my writing because it shows me that I believe in myself, at least a little.

In the words of 2 Chainz, “Believe in yourself. Who else ‘gone believe in you?”

Like I said, I love Christmas because I get to self-reflect in a big way. It’s a real celebration of all that has changed and all the good things that have occurred, as well as all the lessons.

I know when I wake up on Christmas Day, it will be just like any other day in many ways. But deep down my heart is marking exactly where I am in life, so I can use it as a landmark for years to come.

What comes up in your reflections of Christmases past, Christmas present, and Christmas future?


By justpearlythings

I am a writer, a lover, and a believer in the good things in life. I write about mental health and wellness, along with book reviews and fashion opinions. My blog caters to thoughtful, growth-minded women and men, and offers insights and personal challenges that provide a space for relevant, meaningful connection. The World Wide Web is vast, it contains multitudes, and so do we as people. I believe that through self-awareness and honesty, we create a more loving planet for everyone. Feel free to follow this page and share it with friends and family. Love, Pearl

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