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I know how difficult it can be for many of us to find even a modicum of joy at this time of year. For those of you who know my journey and how far I've come these past few years, you might be a little surprised to know that I had to do some digging to find my joy, but I did find it. This is my first year in (at least) the past thirty that I feel painfully lonely. In the past, I was lonely, but not alone. 'Till now, there was always a 'false' sense of belonging, of family, of being loved even though my life was far less than normal or satisfying. I 'chose' to live my life as I did because that was my life, and I had resigned myself to live it and to accept it as it was. It was familiar, predictable and bad as it was, I wasn't alone.

And then in literally the blink of an eye, my life changed.

Now 'choice' meant be out on the street with my child, or do whatever it took to put a roof over our heads and food in our mouths. I referred to that as 'choice', but obviously it wasn't, especially since my child was gravely ill. And so (in a nutshell) my child and I packed up our lives and left.

Last holiday season, I was so immersed in legal issues, job security, financial struggles, mini mental break-downs and emotional upheaval.  I was definitely, physically free from my then Narcissistic Sociopath husband, but there was no joy, no time, and still I saw no reason to celebrate anything.

This holiday season I find myself overwhelmed with loneliness.

However, my legal issues are all behind me, I am legally divorced, my child is doing well, my boss told me I'm one of his five most valuable employees (out of over 60), I have no financial worries (at this time), I have absolutely no debt and I don't feel the need to see my social worker as often as I used to. Please believe me when I say that I do know how lucky I am to have come this far. I do know how difficult some of your lives are right now and you might even be thinking 'what does she have to worry about'. I'm not saying that some of you 'are' thinking that, but if you are, I completely understand.

But I need to tell you that while I have my freedom and a little financial security, I have yet to be free of emotional scars, my insecurities, my fears (some specifically age related) and worst of all, the daily emptiness and fear of being alone. I know many of you do not feel the need to be with someone, to grow old with someone, (I wish I was like that, but I'm just not). But there are those of you around my age that can relate.

As for the holidays, work will keep me occupied. My child will be away for a week spending time with friends so I am thrilled for him. I am selfishly and 'secretly' sad for me because I will be all alone, but l will never let him know that. I am truly grateful for all that I have achieved these past several years. The emotional, mental and physical wear and tear it took on me, on my body, is a constant reminder of every single step and tear I took to get here.

So let me say unequivocally that I am truly grateful for how far I've come and where I am today.

I know it. I live it. I acknowledge it. I'm sixty years old and like so many of you, my life (the past 50 plus years to be exact) were nothing less than a nightmare. But being where I am today is nothing short of a miracle and 'that' is what I am going to celebrate this holiday season; that and the gift of my two beautiful children who are my life, my world and my never-ending strength to carry on.

I won't be clinking my wine glass with anyone else’s, on New Year's eve, so I guess I will just have to have at least two glasses myself to make that happen :) So if you don't think you have anything to celebrate, maybe you just have to clear the cobwebs and dig a little deeper to find it. I'm betting you will find something you are grateful for, something worth celebrating. It's with love in my heart and sincere thanks for another year of being there for me that I wish for you all, all that you wish for yourself. Happy Holidays to us all xo

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