Home for the Holidays.

It’s ironic how many times I’ve been asked if I’m home for the holidays.

Though kids my age are still technically in college (pursuing their masters degrees in the hopes of delaying the inevitable curtain opening to the real world), it’s a question that used to annoy me, but now delights me.  

Where I used to awkwardly laugh and shyly explain that yes, I was not only home for the holidays, but home in an anxious attempt to figure out my life, I now smile real big, eyes bright, and tell them that no, I am not back home for the holidays. I am back home for good.  

 It has been nearly two months since I officially moved home from the over-priced, over-crowded, over-snooty state of California to the small town of Soldotna, a fishing community smack dab in the center of the Kenai Peninsula. A community that not only raised me, but shaped and molded me into the woman I am today.

Since being home, I’ve done a lot of thinking, reflecting back on my behavior from the last couple of years, and I’ve noticed some changes in my perspective from then to now.

Changes such as: how I perceived mundane everyday activities in the place I lived in, how I socialized with friends, neighbors, and acquaintances in my community, and my attitude about my current chapter in life.

In the short time I’ve been back home in Alaska, I can already feel my California adventure working it’s magic on reaffirming my decision to move home.

They’re subtle changes, but they’re there nonetheless.

Take for instance, being at home. Two years ago, I was lost and without direction. I was living at home, unhappy at where I was going, uncertain about my future, and perpetually feeling like I was a failure, a twenty-one year old failure. Now though? I’m using my time here to refresh and save for my own place (of which I’m currently looking into). I’m also taking advantage of spending time with my family, of home cooked meals, and quality time with my cat.

Socializing? Where once I avoided talking to people like the plague, embarrassed at having to explain to everyone my uncertain chapter in life, I now feel no shame in sharing my return home. I relish talking about my role up at Whistle Hill and my magazine updates (of which I am also currently looking into).

Lastly, my attitude about my current status in life is for once, in a long time, looking optimistic. I’m learning to accept and embrace my independence, I’m delving back into the things that made me most happy and of which I was without in California, and I’m slowly getting back in touch with the girl I used to know, who traveled through a rough patch and is on the way to wondrous times.

There are moments of doubt, sure, as I think a little insecurity, uncertainty, and bouts of loneliness still remain in my thoughts, but deep down, I know this was the right decision to make and I know that I must continue to focus on what brought me back here in the first place, and not worry about what anyone else thinks about it.

And most importantly? I need to stop comparing. I learned a long time ago that picture perfect put together lives of my friends weren’t as picture perfect put together as their Instagram layouts had me believe. We’re all going through rough chapters, uncertain chapters, wtf chapters in which we’re seriously doubting our purpose, and no amount of editing and picky choosing of the best moments of our lives can change the fact that we’re all youngins struggling to make it work.

So yes, I am home for the holidays.

But on top of that, I am home in Alaska for good.