Why Yes, It Is a Wonderful Life – 12 days of xmas #3


I moved to California when I was 20. It was a big dream come true for me as I’d always wanted to live in the land of summer for as long as I could remember. Though when I actually got to the land of milk and honey I experienced some serious culture shock. Having grown up in the midwest I was a bit too much on the wholesome side to have taken easily to some of the things I saw in L.A.

Long story short, after a couple of years I pined for home and family and was terribly lonely. In a moment of insanity I agreed to come home at my mom’s behest. To my utter amazement, my view had changed without my noticing. Almost as soon as I got home my world became so small.

It was winter and the landscape I found depressing. Nothing had changed around the old neighborhood, as though it had frozen in time since I’d last seen it. Don’t get me wrong it was wonderful to see my family and old friends but I still felt like piece out of place. Like a new toy in a box of old favorites. People kept mentioning my California accent and how different I was. It was really quite surreal.

I think I lasted about 6 weeks before I was utterly miserable and wanted to go back to California. This did not go over well with Mom who really wanted me to stay for Christmas at least. I know I should have, I know that as a good daughter I should have let her have her way but there was something inside of me that just wouldn’t let me. I had to go back.

So, a couple of weeks before Christmas Mom and Dad took me to the airport so I could return to the land of summer and apparently my new ‘home’ in the universe. I remember Mom was so upset with me she could hardly speak to me and we all felt kind of sad. I kept telling my dad I was sorry but he just smiled and gave me a hug and said: “It’s okay Babe, you have to follow your dreams. You don’t have nothing without them.” (What a guy, eh?)

So back I went and Christmas was bleak to say the least. I’d given up my apartment and belongings, I literall had nothing but a few clothes and a lot of hope. A friend had offered to let me stay in his extra bedroom for a few weeks until I got re-settled. But he had plans for the holidays and so I was really left on my own.

It was pretty bleak. I think I had a bologna sandwich on Christmas Eve and watched old movies on tv by myself for the night. I was sad and depressed and so conflicted wondering if I’d made a mistake in coming back. I scolded myself for being so indecisive and loopy. That I could at that moment been with family, eating great food and unwrapping presents.

And then it was midnight and officially Christmas. I was alone in front of the tv and couldn’t sleep. A movie came on called “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I’d never seen it and since I wasn’t about to sleep, I decided I might as well watch it.

I know this may sound really stupid and silly but really that movie changed my life. It made me realize that everyone does indeed touch the lives of so many others and that we all have an important and special place in the world. And that Christmas isn’t always about getting your wishes but more about celebrating your life, no matter what it is and where it is. That life offers us choice and second chances continually, if only we keep our eyes and our hearts open.

And though there were no fancy parties, presents or even company for me that year – it was indeed a wonderful Christmas. Because I realized I had a wonderful life too.


8 thoughts on “Why Yes, It Is a Wonderful Life – 12 days of xmas #3

  1. I just can’t get over that you were over 20 before you ever saw that movie! LOL

    What a time of growing pains that was for you, but look at how far you’ve come and what a beautiful blossom you are now! (No self-derogatory remarks allowed here WC!)


    Yes, I was late coming to the train on that movie. I don’t know why I’d never seen it up til then but I just hadn’t.

    Aw…no self-deprecating statements? Not even one? Darn! You’re right though, my family is full of late bloomers and I’m one of them.


  2. Way cool story! No, wait… Damn Cool story!! 😉 Brings back all the life defining moments I’ve had along the way.

    I admire the fact you made the trip at 20! It took me so much longer to take the same adventure. It was my first Christmas in L.A. that had me so homesick I had to fly back home. I asked my brother to pick me up from the airport Christmas morning and not tell anyone. The look on my Mom’s face when I walked in the door and she burst into tears, I’ll never forget. I had to fly back that night but it was a Christmas I’ll never forget.

    Aw, what a sweet surprise for your Mom. It makes me tear up too. Some of the simplest things can mean so much to those we love, don’t you think?


  3. “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a great movie. It’s one of my all-time holiday favorites. I love how — like you said — it’s about celebrating your life, not getting all of your wishes granted.


    Yes, I do think that is the lesson in that story. You have to wonder too, would any of us really be happier if we got all our wishes granted? Sometimes the the pain and disappointment of not getting wishes is what makes you appreciates the ones you do get all the more. Also, the perspective that my friend George Bailey gains in the movie is so deep and profound – it is a brilliant movie.



  4. An alltime favorite…. Will be on NBC Dec 16th
    Mr. Oddbody will be seeing if you watched

    Great! I discovered this year that I apparently have lost most of my Christmas movies and Christmas music – or I’ve misplaced it so well that I won’t find it for years – so this is good information. I’ll check my local listings to see if it’s playing that night out here as well. Thanks, Ger.


  5. Ok, I am seriously behind on Xmas movies or should I say North American Xmas movies…. guess since there is no snow in sight this year, instead of snow-shoeing or skiing, I’ll catch up on movies……
    Can’t imagine Christmas in California without snow, don’t know how Arnold does it either…..

    I think you’d really like this movie – it’ll give you a case of the warm fuzzies [don’t listen to Michael about it 😉 ]
    As for Arnold missing snow in California – are you kidding? We have every kind of weather in California from desert to mountains to oceans. If I wanted to ski I’d just have to drive a couple of hours up to Big Bear – if I was really feeling lazy I’d go to Mountain High which is about an hour away. As long as we get rainfall we have snow for skiing. Besides, Arnold probably has a private jet that can take him anywhere he wants for skiing. 😉


  6. It’s too bad that they’ve played this movie into the ground. I liked the overall gist of it but it was never a real favorite of mine. Not sure why.
    I am glad that you happened on this movie way back when.
    I’m thinking it may have kept you safely away from the ‘bridge’…

    LOL! The bridge – yep…about the size of it. I know they used to run it to death on tv but now it maybe runs once or twice a year. Besides I prefer having the dvd so I can play it when I want to. Somehow christmas aint’ Christmas without it.


  7. I just saw the Polar Express. I can’t believe I waited this long to see it either. Fantastic graphics and kind of like the Wizard of OZ for Christmas, really charming.

    ~ PG

    What’s so funny is whenever I talk about It’s a Wonderful Life (which I just watched a couple of days ago) people tell me about Polar Express. I’m starting to feel like we’ve got some bi-Polar(express) syndrome going on here. hehe


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