Thanksgiving is over, and I can’t believe it.

And whether I believe it or not, the holidays are here. Which means that my first semester of senior year is PRACTICALLY OVER. And this makes me extremely happy, but also extremely aware that my time as a college student is winding down.

And thinking about time has gotten me thinking about how I’ve been spending all of my time daily.

I went to see my parents the first night they arrived at my grandparents’ house, and as I was talking with Pa, I was just realizing that I barely had any idea of what was going on in my parents’ and Annabelle’s lives, minus the fact that they’ve been living a healthier lifestyle and Pa was selling Tybee Island calendars.

“I feel like I haven’t really kept in touch with all of y’all this semester,” I said to Pa, “I’m sorry.”

Pa assured me that it was okay, that they understood that I was busy with school. “You’re living your own little life, and we see that, and that’s okay.”

Part of me knew that he was right; things can’t stay the same forever. I’m obviously beginning a huge transition in my life. But the other part of me was saddened at my realization.

I said something about how I was ready to get to spend time with them during break, and Pa said something about spending time with Annabelle.

“Your sister,” he emphasized (not in a harsh way). “Even that feels distant, doesn’t it?”

And that just broke my heart even more. Because it was true.

To be honest, I’ve always felt kind of distant from Annabelle. For one, we are far apart in age. I mean, I’m about to be 21; she’s going to be 10 in March. We’re both just in different places in our lives, and I think it’s difficult for both of us to understand that and to work through it. She wants to play all the time, obviously, because she’s a kid, and I want to lie around and barely do anything because I’m tired from school.

But this semester has really made me reconsider how often I spend time with Annabelle. I thought of times when she was younger and when I was in high school and the times I missed out on her growing up because I was cooped up in my room writing, reading or just wanting to be by myself. I played with her and spent time with her a little bit, but not much, and I hate admitting that to myself.

And I feel like it’s definitely gotten worse since I’ve been in college. I think back to the breaks that I’ve had and what I did during them. And I mostly remember just being by myself (or even in the living room) but working on my blog or watching Netflix in my room by myself for hours and not leaving unless I needed to use the bathroom or get something to eat. I wasn’t like that during every day of break, but most of the days I was. And I want to go back in time and kick myself out of the couch/bed while I was doing those things and yell, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! YOU’RE FAMILY IS IN TOWN AND YOU’VE BEEN WATCHING NETFLIX FOR HOURS! STOP!”

I know I can’t do anything about the past, but I am now in the process of changing what my last breaks will be like. Clearly, I won’t have the same amount of break time for holidays when I graduate from college, but I do want to get in the habit of being better at my relationships when the people I love are surrounding me.

All of this is easier said than done, but I do want to strike a balance with having some “me time,” but also being with my family. Because it isn’t bad for me to want to blog or to want to watch a show by myself, but it shouldn’t overtake my entire holiday.

So, during this Thanksgiving break, I have been trying to say “yes” to playing with Annabelle more, even if I don’t want to. Because she’s my sister and I love her and, even though we’ve played the same game a thousand times, I want her to know that I care about her and want to be around her. Honestly, it isn’t easy, but that’s just something my selfish self needs to get over. I am so willing to beat this tendency to be distant out of me.

Because time is short. People don’t stay the same age forever. Situations and circumstances in life are constantly changing. And I don’t want to look back on my life and regret not doing all I could to be close to my family – the people who love me unconditionally, and who I can count on for anything.

During Christmas break, I may post an update on my progress with this, just so I can keep myself accountable. Because this is something I so desperately want to change; I don’t want to say I want to change and then not do it.

And so, here I go! Ready to defeat the distance.

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