The final deadlines, the sparkly Christmas lights, the near round the clock darkness and the sense of closure.
It’s always a special month, one that makes you pay attention. You look back over those experiences. You think about your loved ones and how you could make them smile.
Every morning you open a new window in your advent calendar and gape that it’s already December 4th… Or the 14th… Or Christmas Eve.
I was lucky to have not one, but three different advent calendars this year. Even as an adult, they do sprinkle your mornings with a little bit of magic. That, along with a big mug of Christmas spiced coffee.
Throughout the month, the weather had a hard time deciding what it wanted to be. There was a lot of snow… Then melted snow. Then rain. But at least there was snow sometimes, and it made the darkness more bearable.
December was the happiest month I’ve had in a while.
I feel centered and hopeful – my feet are planted firmly on the ground, but my head is tilted up towards the sky.
I had a moment when it dawned on me just how often I distracted myself with background noise, such as TV shows and Youtube videos. It wasn’t healthy. After cutting back on that life feels more satisfying somehow, and time isn’t as scarce of a resource.
Early in the month, we had a girls’ trip to Turku. That weekend was like a breath of fresh air: brunching, dining and visiting museums. Most of the time, I exist in a Helsinki bubble, and going anywhere else in Finland feels exciting, almost like going abroad.
The castle of Turku is enchanting. Even though it might not compare to hundreds or thousands of other historical sights in Europe, it has a charm of its own.
You don’t have to elbow your way through masses of tourists there. At 10 am on a Sunday morning, we were of the first to arrive, and it seemed almost empty. After visiting places like Versailles and Akropolis, that’s something you appreciate.
“Progress equals happiness.”
This autumn has been a good transition. I have gone from struggling to serene.
That’s why there’s been one particular question on my mind: what is real life progress?
Progress. That elusive concept that I write about, think about, all the time. What does it look like for real?
It’s always tricky to put into words, never mind explaining it to inspire nameless readers. The reason why is that it’s different every time.
- It can be something others won’t notice. Perhaps you feel just a tiny bit happier and more grateful, but it means the world to you.
- It can mean doing that same mistake all over again, but not going as far down the rabbit hole as you used to. Then, you forgive yourself and get back on track.
- Maybe one day you’ll look back and be amazed. You might have been moving in slow motion, but there was real change happening.
My main takeaway from this month is that I’m back in a good place, maybe a better place than I have ever been.
My main takeaway from this year is that I’m grateful to be alive, no matter what happens. After all, happiness doesn’t come from what happens to you. It comes from how you deal with what happens.
Last but definitely not least, December the 6th was Finland’s 100th birthday.
It was a special day but also cozy and chill. My family and I had lunch, played tennis and watched the fancy ball on TV.
In the evening, we drove to the city for the highlight of the celebration: a firework show.
Ironically, because Finns tend to be very punctual, the show was late and we waited outside in the cold 20 minutes before it started. It was worth it, though.
There’s something so inspiring to see the sky fill up with huge sparkly lights, that make loud noises you can feel in your chest. It was a moment of hope, happiness and pride.
And on that note, I would like to wish you a Happy New Year!