Jake and I spent the past two weeks traveling for Christmas. We saw family and friends. We opened presents and worshiped the little baby Jesus. We’re now exhausted, sitting around our house in pajamas, preparing to celebrate a new year tonight. The most prevalent take-away from our trips to Ohio and Tucson? Things are changing.

My friend Emmy from preschool is pregnant, and I felt like Sigourney Weaver in Alien, petting a blossoming tummy that looked weird on her five-five frame. Emmy herself was exactly the same, and yet, how foreign to think she and her husband will soon be parents.

My friend Lyndsay from first grade almost clobbered me when I laughed about her being the “Matron of Honor” in someone’s wedding. She isn’t a “Maid” anymore, and this realization about killed her.

My townie bar, Fat Jack’s, closed its doors this past summer, so our gang was forced to meet at a cocktail bar across the street. Shocking to realize we now sip twelve-dollar scotch, as opposed to the past decade of binge-drinking.

My parents’ cat, Curtis—who I’ve referred to as “Satan’s Spawn” for years now—fell asleep on Jake’s lap, old age making him docile and dare I say friendly. My aunt’s nineteen-year-old tabby Mimi was the same way, begging my mom for cheese dip, when she would usually bite off a finger.

Finally, on Christmas Eve, Jake and I were officially declared mature adults as we realized our excitement over cooking utensils—something I used to make fun of in my younger days.

It wasn’t all laughs, though.

My grandparents don’t feel like my grandparents anymore. They’re still loving and attentive, but when they look at you, they’re not all there. Half of what they once were is gone. I filmed them this year (although I should have done it years ago), asking them about their childhoods, their initial meeting at a picnic in New York, and even about World War II. I’ve realized they will not be around forever, and when my grandfather mentioned looking forward to Heaven, I had to leave the room to hide my irrepressible tears.

Personal relationships I once valued no longer exist. How does this happen? Is it geographical separation that eventually causes emotional separation? Or does time make us into different people—people who no longer have anything in common, despite the closeness we once clung to? How odd, when friends become strangers—and how difficult to digest.

The Bowie song tells us, “Time may change me, but I can’t trace time.” My internal changes are most apparent when I return home, to the place where it all began. I’m not the same person I once was. My home in Perrysburg and the people who made up my “group” molded my initial personality. The homes I’ve had since and the people I’ve met have continued the transition to Sara Dobie 2010—soon to be Sara Dobie 2011. And I’m certain the changes will not stop there.

You, too, may have felt different this holiday season. Maybe your family is different. Maybe your past priorities aren’t your priorities anymore. Maybe you now value something you did not value last year. But that’s the magic of life—it is ever changing, ever evolving, ever expanding. I don’t know exactly what 2011 will bring, but I do know this: every year of my life has been better than the one before, because I am becoming better. I’m becoming more of the person I was meant to be, with the help of family, friends, and God. Change is unavoidable, but we have to embrace it, because change makes us better versions of ourselves … if we let it.

My holiday trips were not necessarily relaxing, but they were enjoyable and educational. Staring into the face of a new year, I’m ready for more enjoyment and education—even if the education side is hard to accept.  David Bowie told us, “Pretty soon you’re gonna get a little older.” Whether we become matrons or mothers, we shouldn’t be afraid of getting older, but we should be afraid of remaining the same. Here’s to looking forward and embracing change in 2011.

One thing that will never change: the way we love each other.

3 thoughts on “Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Chaaaanges

  1. This is seriously awesome and I love the way you said it! I love that you videotaped your grandparents. What a wonderful idea! I interviewed my Great Grandmother before she passed and I wish it was on video. I should consider this for other family members . . . if only we were closer!

  2. Of course this made me cry, but it was so beautifully written. It was wonderful to have Jake as part of our family this year, too! Your writing just keeps getting better as you keep growing. Love you so much!

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