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Day 19: A Winter Solstice Reflection

Today is the shortest day of the year and a time of great reflection for me. It's almost the end of the year and it happens to be my sister's birthday. She would have been 33 today.


It also appropriately is pouring rain in LA. The gloomy weather is fitting and a good reminder that we all have dark days, but that's what makes the sun feel even nicer.


I took a road trip back in the fall of 2020 from Seattle to Arizona and back up again. One of my favorite stops -- and absolute treasured memories -- was when I landed in Santa Barbara on my way home (watch the vlog here!). I rented an Airbnb, sharing a lovely home with the owner and her two cats. This woman, Angela, was an unexpected highlight of my six-week trip.


I happened to stay with her over Thanksgiving and we had a wonderful dinner that she prepared and stayed up drinking wine and chatting about life. I had never connected so deeply with someone from another generation before.


We shared a love of the outdoors and backpacking, were fiercely independent women, and even bonded over spirituality and trauma. She quickly became my soul sister.


When I asked how she'd like to celebrate Thanksgiving, she had said it was basically a fake holiday and she didn't care for it. She preferred to celebrate "real" holidays, like the solstices -- to that she'd raise a glass of wine!


Ever since then, I've had a better appreciation for the natural holidays that mean something shifting in the world outside manmade milestones and Hallmark holidays. The solstices and equinoxes represent something bigger than ourselves.


Winter solstice can be perceived as dreary and the low point of the year in some ways. I like to think of it as the turning point. After today, the darkness goes away and the days get longer. We slowly inch back toward the warmth and sunshine.


This is the perfect time to change anything that's not working in your life. Do a complete 180. And bring those changes with you into the new year.


Thinking back on my visit with Angela and remembering my sister, I reached out to a few friends today that I haven't spoken to in far too long -- Angela being one of them! Embracing the darkness of the day means coming to terms with the end of things and the impermanence of us all. There's a certain lightness I feel knowing that this too shall pass and really, in the grand scheme of things, nothing is that important.


Something I've chosen to make more important in my life is my availability and connection to others. I've done a pretty awful job at that in the past, including throughout this year, and am working on changing that part of myself. It's days like today that give me that push and remind me what really matters when it all boils down.


I hope you're celebrating today or any other holidays this month with lots of joy and human connection. Reach out to those you love, even (especially) if you haven't in a while, and let them know you care.


Happy Winter Solstice and --


Happy adventuring,

A

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