A small & slow holiday season.

We’re at the very end of December, arguably my favorite time of year. The special padding of time between Christmas and New Year’s always feels like a bonus week that moves extra slow. I really savor it.

I spent most of December working & baking. I really thought this holiday season would be different because of the pandemic, but on the work-front, it was mostly the same! Bustling shoppers (but in masks) loading up on yoga pants for their loved ones. What was different this year is that I did my shopping online, and wasn’t rushing around from store to store to get gifts. On days off, I stayed in pajamas and just relaxed with V. And all in all, it was a more peaceful December than I’ve had in years for that reason.

She wrote to Santa, “I love you. I want you to leave presents in my stocking.”
She asked for a step stool for Christmas! And I spent many nights hand-sewing this Hello Kitty apron for her. (I have a sewing machine but I just find sewing by hand more relaxing!)

On Christmas Day we stayed home. I made cinnamon rolls with my sister (a family tradition), but totally from scratch instead of from a refrigerated can. For dinner, my mom made prime rib and I did garlicky, buttery, cheesy potatoes. Recipe here and dang they’re so delicious.

Making cinnamon rolls from scratch!

I realize everyone else’s holidays may not have been so relaxing or peaceful. Honestly, a lot of people are out of work and that’s not something that’s lost on me for a second. During the shut down in March, I clung tightly to my savings, not knowing if I’d be laid off or not. I’m so grateful I’m still able to provide for my family.

Something that has been especially weird? Our weather. It was hot all December, warm enough to wear a tank top and enjoy time outside. Thankfully today, it’s cold and rainy and we’ve spent most of our time cuddled up on the couch. ♥️

I hope you had a peaceful December, and I hope 2021 brings some relief for all of us.

10 thoughts on “A small & slow holiday season.

  1. Dearest Jen,

    I’ve emailed you but I’ll post here as well.

    I ran into your blog a couple of days ago and spent the entire day reading your post regarding how you got back with your ex, letting go and healing (+ all the comments). I’ve been reading and listening (even paying for access to some material) a lot since my break up 10 months ago, but not until reading your words did it finally really snap that all this time I had been working on myself and on letting him go first and foremost in order to get him back, rather than back to myself (and putting the rest in Universe’s hands). And it occurred to me that this wasn’t a genuine letting go.

    I guess, as many others, I’ve been afraid of doing that. Also I guess I wasn’t ready, that I needed to reach this point. It’s not easy to let go of a 7 years long relationship (aka investment) when you are 33 years old. And I guess what makes it harder is everything of “mine” that was connected to him and which I lost due to his decision – our home (which we had built together on his family’s property), my business (in the process of getting established there at his family’s farm).

    I’m trying to tell myself that I can regain all that, with or without him, that I can build and create another home and get inspired to realise my dreams/business alone and elsewhere in the future although currently my confidence and enthusiasm is not at its top, and I feel a bit “out of place” since I was very attached to that place. You see I’m a second generation immigrant and all my life I’d been moving around with them, and then later without traveling/studying/working abroad without a proper place until I met him and moved to his country and childhood home and farm next to his parents and grandma. I finally had what I had always longed for and dared to finally unpack my bags there and to “set root” – something I had always been afraid to do before as I’d always been on move. But then, as I was doing that, I guess my fear started to creep in as I realised that wasn’t really “my” place. Long story short, there was some dispute between me and his parents regarding this “shared” place. Basically I saw a lot of potential in the farm and the surrounding unused buildings and wanted to apply and realise my innovative/young ideas, inspired from my country and travels, but in their eyes I reckon that I might have seemed like a coloniser and that they might have felt threatened by these ideas/changes that I wanted to apply to their property (which I saw myself a part of and therefore permitted myself to have ideas upon).

    Looking back now, after having read a lot about LOA, I can see that we were all probably creating our realities in a subconscious way by observing and reacting. Focusing on the problems rather than the solutions. And also, I realise now that I should have been more humble. It was hard for me though since my ex didn’t know how to communicate with his family, and I oftentimes felt like I needed to handle things on my own/directly with them. Also hard on him of course since he felt in-between them and me.

    Anyhow, we started to find ourselves in a limbo-kind of state of mind with an almost finished home and a business plan ready but without knowing whether we should continue to stay there or move from there in order to gain our independency. We didn’t have the money nor the energy to buy and move to another property/farm, so we started to talk about maybe moving to my country meanwhile where the income is higher in order to save up. Also, he has always loved my country (while I have always loved his) and even learned to speak my language (just as I speak his). So we saw this as a way of trying out life there too, figuring out where we wanted to stay in the future.. although I know realise that I actually never wanted to move from there and his parents, but were using the move to create a reaction from his parents – them telling us not to go, that we could stay and create our dreams there, on their land.

    This limbo-state, the fights between me and the parents, he escaping (working more/late, going out more with his friends/co-workers to avoid being home), me starting to become needy (“why do you leave me alone next to your parets during this difficult period!?”), me not going out of the house anymore in order to avoid his parents, me starting to hate them and make them my reason of misery/feeling like a victim, me telling him to choose between them and me, me checking his phone for message exchanges between him and his mom about me, me feeling like he wasn’t valued enough at his job and telling him to leave his job in his country (which he was conducting from his computer) and get the same in my country with higher salary in order to save more, me asking him why we aren’t still engaged like our other friends, me making him my everything and telling him that I wanted to just die and that I had nobody and no place to go when he wanted a break, EVENTUALLY led him to one day call my dad (which was closer to him than his own dad) and tell him that he didn’t love me anymore but was afraid to tell me. He was afraid about how I was going to react (I don’t blame him!). But it was a schock to receive a call from my parents that day, telling me what he had said and that I should go back to my country. Confused and heartbroken I followed their advice and his wish to leave. I spent 1 very strange and emotionally exhausting week packing together with him all my stuff that he was going to send over and… left. Just like that everything I had built, every person I had gotten to know during those years, friends, professional contacts, without a proper goodbye. I thought that I would go back 1 month after for my driver’s license exam but 1 week later Covid happened and suddenly my uncertain state levelled up to another uncertain state.

    I tried to make the best of the situation. To be grateful of having a place to stay in (a small cabin in the woods in my country where I didn’t know anyone) and create a temporary life from scratch. A temporary work with happy people (children), a temporary garden and so on..

    I did the mistake to remain in contact with him through text occasionally, also it was hard not to during Covid especially as his country was one of the most affected countries in the beginning. I sent him a lot of positivity and showered him with love.

    He sent me a letter telling me how surprised he was over my maturity, how he had thought I would hate him and that it made him feel guilty, but that guilt wasn’t a reason to stay together. And how he needed time to grief as he felt that somebody very dear to him had just died. But that this was something he had chosen to go through. He appreciated my understanding and apologies, but also told me that I had nothing to apologise for as he understood my reactions and behaviour back there and didn’t judge me. That he was the one who was sorry for putting me through this experience/making me become like that. Nevertheless, I insisted on taking my responsibility for my part and asked him to even tell his parents how sorry I was.
    People I never would have thought forgiving or asking forgiveness from after the last fight we had.

    In September I could finally go back there for my exam. It was strange to go back to “my” city but not being able to go back to “my” home. I had to rent a place for the month I stayed there, but I got the chance to meet him and his family. His mom brought me a lot of food to the place I rented and we even went to the beach once (just me and her) but never talked about the past, just had a good time together. With him I only met once in order to get some clothing I needed from the boxes he still hadn’t sent to Sweden (since I still hadn’t told him to do that) and then once going out for dinner (because after the breakup he sent money to my bank account to cover my part of contribution to the house, but I sent it all back and told him that I didn’t want any money and that I’d rather he spend it on himself/the house or that we do something fun together once I’m there, like going out to eat in that place we always wanted to go to but never got the chance to go to. He agreed if I accepted to go as friends and nothing more). The day after it was his birthday, so after the dinner I gave him a gift he had always wished for – a telescope – and which I believe arrived to me for him through LOA, a handwritten letter with all my newly-found perspectives collected in it and an anatomic heart I had made him by clay and repaired with gold through the art of Kintsugi (symbolising the new relationship that could be born, a better and more beautiful one).
    Looking back I realise how this overwhelmed him and also how that letter and heart were actually written and made for myself.

    Anyhow, his feedback was that he had never received anything more loving and thoughtful in his life, but that to be truly honest it made him feel a bit uncomfortable since he hadn’t gotten me anything and he felt like I expected something in return from him. something he no longer could give me. I told him how I didn’t and how I had learned to love unconditionally, to be a lover rather than craving to be loved. And the only thing that saddened me was to loose him also as my best friend (we were friends for 1 year before getting together)

    On the last day before turning back, I went back to the house to leave the stuff that didn’t fit into my luggage into the boxes that were gonna be sent to me. He wasn’t there, but he had left me the keys to enter. As I was about to leave the house I received a text that he was about to return, that we could checkout the stars with the telescope and asking me what I fancied him to pick up for dinner. I got a bit confused and also a bit angry since he was taking me for granted – to be available and not have any dinner plans (which I had with my flatmates) whereas he, during the whole month I was there, always was busy and needed to schedule in advance the days we were gonna meet. I was about to stay anyway, when an instinct took me to the bathroom and I looked into the trash can and found some opened condom wrappers. I panicked, since the thought of him dating others had never occurred to me. I felt cheated on, even though we were officially broken up with and that was none of my business. Not wanting him to see me in that kind of state I ran away, 5 minutes before he arrived. He later took a photo of the food he had brought with him for me, telling me what a pity it was I wasn’t there. My angry and betrayed part told him that he could enjoy it himself, while my devastated part (that thought to herself “what if that was our chance to reconcile and you screwed it!?”) sent him a sad message the next day, telling him how she had wanted to stay with all her heart and how she had spent that night in tears.

    I also told him that he could finally send me my stuff. I figured that it wasn’t right to keep them there. That I had to let go, and let him send it, even though I wasn’t sure if I was gonna stay. So now he has sent them and I’ve faced one of my biggest fears – receiving all my belongings on the street in the middle of nowhere. (Luckily, an angel came to my rescue and gave me a hand.)

    I thought that by letting him send my stuff I would let go of that old relationship and the break up. Stop continuing to talk about logistics. And create a new page for a new relationship to occur. A rebuilding phase of trust and fun and lighthearted conversations. Not about the past, the breakup, the stuff and so on… However upon reading your post, I realised how many mistakes I’ve done so far – the begging right after the breakup, the not going into no contact and letting him send my stuff immediately, the gifts, the letting him rest assured that I’ll always be here and that he is welcome to Sweden anytime – and I realised how time-consuming this all has been. How I need to start putting my own well-being first, reclaim my life. How there aren’t any words or logic that could convince him how great everything could be now, this time. How I have to let go of that dream of living and running my business there with him, for now. How I shouldn’t worry about moving on and him coming back, creating a vision plan without him.

    So, now to my question: Is it too late to write him that I have finally come to agree that we should go our separate ways? That he’s right, we have grown, and we are too different people now. Or should I just continue no contact (we suddenly don’t have any communication) without writing anything? Also, we are still friends on FB (but he only has it for work, so he doesn’t share anything BUT can see everything I do) Same with Instagram, he is following both my personal and professional (business) one and sometimes likes my post. Should I let him observe/follow me or block him from there? I mean how do I make his understand that I’m no longer waiting? By actually not doing it without having to communicate that to him? (Like you, I believe in energies and bet that he can sense that even from afar)

    Also, any suggestions on how to understand what my next step should be? Whether I should move back there or stay here (I feel like he just sent me here without me having any time to ponder on that), pursue my dream anyway/change it etc. Somedays I feel motivated to carry on anyway with realising that dream while others I feel less since it was a shared dream, a dream I wanted to realise with him and not by myself…also, as mentioned, it was a dream that got born in that particular place. I find it hard to imagine it anywhere else.. although I’m sure it’s my mind playing me tricks (just like the “you will never find anyone like him again”)

    I’m so sorry this got so long. I want you to know that I understand if you don’t have the time to read/reply. Although I would of course appreciate it.
    Meanwhile I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happier New Year.

    Ps. I sent his family a Christmas greeting card, but that’s it…I’ll stop now.

    Lots of love ❤

    • This is a lot to take in & you’ve been through a lot. Recognize that this has been a trauma and that it will take time and processing to heal.

      I think, ultimately, the method by which you choose to let go is less significant than the mere act of deciding to let go. If you really choose to sever all ties (I would personally block him from insta), the most important thing is taking the focus OFF of him (doesn’t matter if he understands or not) and just put the focus ON you.

      Pay attention to how you’re feeling when you want to continue to pursue the dream you had. In those moments, are you feeling strong and whole? If so, follow that. The doubt will always return (“But it was supposed to be a shared dream/I don’t want to do it alone”/etc). Follow the moments of strength and purpose because that’s where you’ll have the most clarity. Ignore the doubt when it comes (because that’ll happen no matter WHAT you do) and stay on your path. Stay in Sweden, move home — none of it matters. Go where you imagine yourself and where it feels right. (That may mean you stay where you are for a while and eventually move at a later date. Only you know the right timeline.)

      It’s really hard to start over again in your thirties, but it can be done and I can tell you that I am much happier now from having done so.

      I also have changed my mind on a few things since writing those blogs 8 years ago. For one thing, you didn’t make any “mistakes.” I no longer think there’s a shortcut through heartbreak or any specific path to follow to come out the victor in a horrible breakup like this one. It’s painful and there’s no short way around that. Also, I think the learning and wisdom that comes from enduring something like this, even through making the “mistakes” and giving your ex too much power, all are important parts of being a whole-hearted, compassionate human being. For the rest of your life, you will be more understanding of others’ suffering because you’ve been through this. Other people’s deep pain won’t frighten you, because you will have survived this deep pain of your own. And that makes a much kinder human being than the life where you got everything you wanted.

      My heroes aren’t people who got through life unscathed. They’re the people who ended up at rock bottom over and over and learned to pick themselves up with tenderness and patience. Those are the people we should admire in this life. When you get through this, you’ll be one of them.

      Let your ex go and nurse yourself back to health. Whichever path you choose to take will be the right one.


      • Dear Jen,

        Thank you SO MUCH for your reply! I was waiting to receive a notification once you would reply, but never did until today when I received one about your new blogpost. Once I read it I got curious and went to check here as well and found your reply! ❤

        I've to admit that reading it made me cry a bit. Partly because retelling my story makes me live all those emotions again, and partly because you acknowledging this as a trauma/ a lot to take in made me realize that I should be gentler with myself. I sometimes forget this and are a bit harsh with myself for going forward so slow. For still being in pain sometimes or thinking about him everyday.

        One thing that is helping me currently to get through my days is to read the "secret stories" or to listen to Abraham Hicks (I have also ordered that book – When Things Fall Apart – you recommended through my local library btw).
        Reading your story + those stories gives me hope – that everything is (still) possible and to focus on the growth and clarity that has come out of this painful journey. To surrender, but not give up on my desires, but to leave them into the Universe's hands. I guess this is what 'letting go' really means? To believe before you see and not be so fixated that it's going to be him again (although I really feel he is THE ONE/we were/are meant to be) or that my business will take place only on that very place. To have faith that whatever will be will be good. To be more open and have an abundant mindset (that there are many "the ones") rather than a scarcity one.

        Letting go is really hard though and one cannot force it as you say. It took me 10 month (compared to your 4 months) to arrive to this point, to be open to start the process. At first I was so focused on analyzing the past and undoing the breakup. Although I knew and know that any future relationship with him had to be a NEW one. It's funny isn't it – the things we know but still we resist them. I guess we have to be ready for them. Also, I know that it's easier to start a new one with someone else rather than having a relationship with him again in the future. (Just as you also have talked about) But I'm willing to get through that journey too if the Universe ever gives me/us a second chance, because I truly believe that things would be different this time because I am different. I'm trying to change anyone this time, but have finally learned that change happens within. Before I used to think that my circumstances (in-laws for example) needed to change in order to feel good.

        Regarding the dream – I feel that everything I've done so far has brought me there and that's what I'm supposed to do. I became reluctant to realize it there due to doubt and self-sabotaging beliefs such as "the ground is not fertile enough to accommodate your dream" (the ground being the mindset of my in-laws) until I realized that it was actually me who weren't "fertile"/ready enough.

        Your words are comforting though, telling me that I don't have to make a decision right now. That I can also stay here for a while. To not consider everything so permanent. To be honest, the pandemic has kind of helped in this, to be ok with taking my time, and while people complain about it taking too long, I'm sometimes worried about how it's gonna be afterwards as I don't feel like my life stopped due to the pandemic but more because of this personal change. Anyhow, I have faced many of my fears during 2020, and I guess 2021 is gonna be about daring to live again and stop waiting for him to come back for it to start again.

        I also would like to thank you for your heartwarming words in the end. I agree with you and believe that you are such a beautiful person due to all the pain you have endured as well. You too are one on my heroes. The way you write speaks to my heart, which has indeed grown bigger through this episode.

        PS. Regarding your latest blog post: I think the art of letting go may apply there as well – to let go and put it into the Universe's hands, while you continue to be grateful for what you already have (a sweet daughter that I wish to have myself one beautiful day as well!) ❤

        • It makes sense that it took you longer to let go, since your relationship with your ex at that point was so much longer than mine had been with C (back then — now I feel like I’ve been with him forever).

          I’ve learned that grief is always on its own timeline; there is literally nothing we can do to force it along. The only thing is that avoiding it definitely makes it take longer.

          I know right now you feel that he is the “one” — and you’re right when you say that there are actually many “ones” and that any of them can make you happy. 🙂

          Re: the last part — yes, my life, it seems, is a continual lesson in letting go. ❤

          Keep me updated on your journey. xoxo

          • That’s what I thought too, regarding it taking longer for me since we had been together for almost 7 years. Although I’m shocked over how easy it seems to have been for him to move on… From everything I’ve studied though it seems like the dumpers are already prepared before the actual break up and thus go through different stages – first relief and then grief.

            Regarding other “ones” – I know, I wish I wasn’t so fixated! I feel like an addicted! But I’m trying to let go and also learning to generate happiness from within rather than craving it from the outside. Being happy alone in myself and on my own before I enter any new relationship again (with him or anyone else).
            I don’t feel ready yet, I still feel like my world would turn around if he returned (since so much of my happiness as explained above depended on him) and I don’t think this is the right state to be in (also probably he hasn’t returned since he can probably sense that I’m still attached, maybe keeping him on social media wont matter in this sense as long as he can sense it..)

            Speaking about that.. In fact I still hesitant about blocking him on Insta/FB as I think I would mostly do it in order to have a reaction from him/make him feel he ha lost me. Also I’m afraid I’ll regret it and freak out as soon as I do it! Do you remember how you felt?

            Ps. I’ve started following you on Insta (the grief years) and messaged you privately there – this way you can follow me and my journey there (I like to wrie as well! :))

            • I do remember how I felt. I got to the point in the breakup where I was finally angry and didn’t want him having access to my life. (I had posted that I was excited to move into my new apartment and he “liked” my post, which made me furious because I only moved because he broke up with me), so I blocked him everywhere. Because I had anger as a protective shield (it always is), I didn’t regret my decision. Even when we got back together, he immediately wanted to re-friend me and state that we were in a relationship, but I declined for a long time. He had to earn my trust back! You will eventually get to this phase as well. You’ll see!

              Aww ok, I’ll follow you back. Full disclosure: I don’t check that account very much but I’ll try to remember to update it more!

              • Dear Jen, believe me, I’ve reached this angry-kind of phase many times! I’ve just chosen to not act on it (very difficult!). To do it if I still feel like it when I’ve calmed down/reached a loving state. After having been a quite impulsive person acting on my instinct and anger several times during our relationship, leading eventually to the breakup, I’m trying to not be like that anymore – to distinguish between my instinct and intuition – which is a very fine line I’ve come to learn. I wish I had learned that when I was little, but better late than never.

                At the same time I sometimes ask myself if it’s fair to myself to always be “the better/mature one” after the breakup, to continue to act like a “first lady”/so put together. Maybe it is, as long as I let it out in other ways, privately, I guess.

                I really can reckon in how you felt when he liked your post. I too get angry when he “likes” or is happy over my “positive progress/changes” (job, house etc) which are all because of him/his decision. I know that he is doing it out a a loving place or maybe even out of guilt (me posting positive happy things making him feeling less guilty) and many times this has blocked me from posting anything at all because I have wanted him to feel guilty. But then, when I observe myself in the mirror, I realise that this is not healthy and that I need to forgive him for my own sanity, and to be indifferent to him being out there observing me. But it is really hard to be indifferent, and I’m very tempted to do what you did. Like “ok so you want me out of your life? I’m out”. At the same time this feels contradictory to what I have said to him (wanting to remain friends, that he is welcome anytime..)

                When you let go, did you do it in order to get him back? Or did you genuinely reach a state where you no longer wanted him at all? I find that some days, I reach that state, where I no longer want “back” (I put “” since this really isn’t possible since we both have evolved into other persons after the breakup) whereas other days I miss him so da*n much and get furious over him not seeing the potential of what we could have created and become together. On those days I try to remind myself that I’ve entered a scarcity mindset where I consider everything as lost rather everything I/we have gained. Where I think I’m moving away from something rather than towards (a better relation with him/another, but first and foremost myself). ❤

                Regarding IG: I sent a PM through that one since your other personal account was private. But I've sent a request for following you there as well! 🙂

                Sending you lots and lots of love, thank you for being there and for being such a beautiful human-being ❤

                • Hey!

                  I let go because I had reached rock bottom and had nothing left to lose. I had made myself sick, lost 25 pounds, and bore no similarity to the woman I once was. To save my own life, I let go. I was tired of the addiction to the pain of thinking and wondering about him. I still missed him, but I forced myself to date someone else and move on. You’ll get there too, and soon. It just becomes too much to carry. It will no longer matter what future you COULD have had, because the relationship is over. It’s a hard realization to come to, but it also made me feel free.

                  Ah, yes — I keep that account private because I mostly post my personal life & daughter. ♥️♥️

  2. Dear Jen, I came across your blog in 2015 when I was heart broken over a guy that now looking back, I could laugh about it. And guess what, 5 years have gone by and I still read your blog. Your writing still inspiring, still sincere like talking to friends. Keep writing, keep inspiring people.
    Much love from Switzerland

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