My hope for you, reading out there -- my Christmas wish, as it were -- is that you live among people as giving and generous and wonderful as the people I do. (Some of you? Are the people that this is about, so ... it's gonna get schmoopy up in here and I just need you to accept it.)
When I lived in North Carolina, I was lonely. I'd put myself in time out (it seemed reasonable) and I got some really good things out of that, like an amazing relationship with my parents which, as an adult, is kind of a big deal. You don't always get the chance to dive into your emotional closet, pull out the ugly and damaged bits, and mend them, but I did; as a result, I don't regret that time in any way. It was amazing and necessary.
But I didn't have a lot of friends, which was strange to me because I grew up with a community of people who were just ... there. Every time you turned around, there they were. All through preschool and elementary school and high school and in some cases? College! And grad school! You were never without your secondary family. So suddenly finding myself without that was weird. Weird, and unbalancing.
Fortunately, there was Facebook. People who are all "social media is bad blah blah blah" don't know how much it can save you when you feel alone. I didn't have friends that I could go to dinner with, necessarily, but I had people I could talk to in an instant. I could feel like I was a part of things, even though I was nine hundred miles away.
Finally, I decided that I needed to come back to New England, and settle in my neck of New Hampshire. I felt like I belonged here.
And y'all -- you welcomed me. People I didn't KNOW welcomed me. The community embraced me. They didn't have to, but they did. Here, when someone knows someone who knows you? They offer you the shirt off their back.
So maybe I'm crying again (it's the first time today, though, so I'm winning), because ever since I said "Hey, I lost my job" the community here has been falling over themselves to help me. I've had offers of money, I've had people helping me to network, I've had suggestions and job applications and kindness and love and hugs pouring in from every direction that I look. I anticipated sympathy. I did not anticipate this level of love and assistance and involvement.
I have the best life, job or no job. I have the best friends. And I have the best community, which is mostly right here but also? Spreads down to North Carolina and Florida and Texas. It goes up to Maine. It extends to Japan.
I can't thank any of you enough for the love and help you have sent my way, so I will just promise to pay it forward.
Thank you, my beloved community.