by Milegny Castro
It is the middle of the night. The clock strikes twelve and everyone bursts with happiness. Hugs, champagne, confetti, and tears, all mix up in a bundle of emotions and euphoria. You can tell the end of the year breaks some people. Someone is crying in the corner and others are too drunk, hugging everybody.
You have a mix of emotions you can’t even point your finger on. Are you sad? Happy? This year was ok. I mean, you are alive and well, nothing horrible happened. You have a job, friends and family, maybe even a person to share the holidays with. But still you get that weird feeling in your chest.
Nostalgia, nostalgia for something you don’t even know. The past? Can you feel nostalgia for the future? You are missing things you don’t even have, experiences you haven’t even had, people you haven’t even meet.
What makes the end of December so full of feelings? I live abroad, so nostalgia never really goes away. I constantly miss places, people, and situations. I miss things that are never going to happen again, or even people who are not on this planet anymore. An immigrant is always missing, but my god the end of December is like a high-speed reminder of all the missing you’ve been doing during the year.
Christmas can break you, it all depends on how lonely you are. I am lucky I have my family with me, but it wasn’t always like that. I’m a child from a separated couple, and they didn’t finish that relationship in the best terms. My mom can’t stand my dad, and my dad is afraid of my mom. He hurt her, a lot, and it has never been good between them. I remember them together a couple of times when I was little, and just once during my teen years, never again.
I have always shared the holidays, alternating years being with my mom or my dad. I was always missing someone on Christmas. It was weird when I was little, especially as I never felt comfortable around my dad’s family, but it got worse when I became an angry teenager. No matter whose house, I always felt out of place, always missing something. Don’t get me wrong—I love my family—but it has never been whole.
When the time came to spend the holidays abroad, I didn’t feel any differently. I saw many of my classmates miss their families, cry about it, and really have a hard time. I was used to it, and felt the same as usual. There is always someone missing.
It is hard to deal with perpetual nostalgia. I’m still lucky: I’ve never been completely alone on the holidays. I’ve always at least had friends around, and when I came to live in Spain my mom was already here. It was just the two of us, but we had each other.
But you are always thinking of the people that you may never see again. I am trying so hard to improve my situation so that I can go back and have at least one of these dinners at my father’s house. Because I am not an angry teenager anymore, and I never thought I’d be so far away from home.
I am making it though. Things are going ok. I am healthy and nothing horrible has happened. But I can’t complain about having to spend the holidays with my dad anymore because now he’s too far away.
I consider myself a very independent woman. I’m never the one crying in the corner—I’m the one hugging everybody. I’ve been living with nostalgia all my life, and I don’t even think I have advice on how to deal with it because I just got numb to it. I don’t even notice it anymore.
If you are feeling lonely at the end of the year, know that’s ok. The bonds and attachments we have with other people are a healthy part of life and missing them is completely normal, luckily we have internet now and can talk to most of them no matter where we are, I’ll always advice to reach out from time to time. Cry if you must, or whatever makes you feel better. Because I miss people year round, December is just a reminder that I should talk to them more or even forgive them, because we all make mistakes.
When the clock strike twelve, toast to the nostalgia, hug someone, or just smile at the passage of time, because you are not alone, even if you feel like it. I know you miss them; they miss you too. Let them know and try to appreciate what you have.