During the holidays I was able to travel throughout Europe and see places I had previously only dreamed of. While traveling the world has always been a goal of mine, the timing of traveling during the holidays left me absent from the Christmas dinner table back in my families’ home in America. While I was extremely excited to see places like Paris, Rome and London I was sad to not be able to be home for the holidays with my family. Family is always special, but during the holiday season and especially as we all get older, it is an extremely important time to put life on hold for a brief moment and just enjoy the company of those who have such a huge impact on your life. Fortunately, I would not be without my family for long. My father had to be in Germany at the start of the year for his job, being the resourceful person he is, he used this as an opportunity to bring my mother and grandmother along with him for a visit to Letterkenny. Though they were only able to stop by for a long weekend, I was incredibly grateful to see them and show them my new life over here in Ireland. We spent the weekend exploring Donegal and Derry, much like my own first days in Letterkenny. Several meals, pints and laughs later, I hugged them goodbye and they were off to Germany.
Each year before he would send us off for our brief Christmas break, my college Coach, Joe Reilly, would always instruct us on two things; to stay in shape and to hug our loved ones. He would say “you never know when the last holiday together would be.” This always stuck with me. As I get older and my life becomes increasingly busier and more complex, I realize that the time left for family and friends becomes shorter and shorter. At first I viewed this as sad, in comparison with my childhood the amount of time I now get to spend with my family is laughable. However what I am starting to realize is that with family time, as with many other things in life, we should practice quality over quantity. Yes, I do not get to see my family nearly as much as I should and yes, I am at a point in my life where my responsibilities and time commitments will only increase, but now when I see my parents I get to tell them about all the new aspects of my life and hear about what is new in their world. The time we spend together is more valuable. The previous time of sitting around the living room silently watching a movie is replaced by a boisterous meal filled with inquiries, jokes and lively conversation. Time is one of the few resources that is truly non-renewable(More on this in the next blog). While I intend on spending my time attempting to squeeze the most out of every second growing and developing as an individual, I will make sure that I allot a section of my life to sharing that experience with those I love. So while I am sad I only got to see my family for a few days, I am grateful I was able to see them at all and that when we were together we all had some new and exciting experience to share with one another. My Mother would tell you the exact opposite, that I should be spending all my time with my family (and she might be right, as all mothers are) but while I go on to chase my individual dreams that may not be possible, but don’t worry Ma, I’ll always leave time to share those dreams with you.