For a long time now, this time of the year has always been really hard for me. For a lot of people, it is a joyous time of the year. But many others, it is a time of depression and reflection of better times. That may be why so many people are sad this time of the year and I personally couldn't tell you the last time I was excited about the holidays. I think that can be attributed to many things but one thing in particular. But perhaps I should start at when I think Christmas stopped being fun:

Two of my brothers and I took a trip down to Florida with my parents in 2006 which should have been amazing; it wasn't. I won't go into too much detail. We had some fun times on the trip but life was sure taking a rough turn at that point in mine and my family's life. 7 months later I was in a hospital room saying my final goodbyes to my best friend who was about to pass from Leukemia complications.

Every year since then has been a struggle to find happiness and to focus on the things I was thankful for. All the holidays would do is remind me of how much Christmas used to rule. A few more years go by and the three remaining grandparents I had all passed within 2 months of each other during the holiday season. Again, the holidays come and things just keep getting worse.

In 2011, I was at a complete loss. I was rock bottom. I was 26, still living at home, no career, no plan, and my parents were at their wits end with what I was doing with my life, all while I was miserable and insanely depressed.  One day I heard a commercial for the Specs Howard School of Media Arts for Radio and it was at that moment I realized what I wanted to do with my life.

I've always been an entertainer. Whether it was singing, dancing, acting or just joking around. My uncles have said I've got a big piece of my late Uncle David in me, but I think a lot of it comes from the inspiration of my father. I love making people laugh, smile and most of all happy. I knew radio would allow me to do all those things.

I quickly succeed and was able to do the damn- near impossible after graduation: get not only an internship but my first part-time job in radio On-Air in Detroit.  I spent the next 4 years juggling filling in for full-time on-air talent, working three jobs, going a few months without a day off, 16 to 18 hour back to back days and the rejection of failed attempts to get a full-time radio position. As much as I loved being On-Air, working so much never gave a chance to appreciate the holidays. It was never a "break" for me. I was starting to feel the affects of that lifestyle this year. That maybe it just wasn't gonna happen for me.

This past Fall I was so lucky and relieved to finally get the email I was waiting for. An offer to work Full Time in Kalamazoo being On-Air in one of the coolest cities in Michigan and for the #1 station in the city.  It was an immediate "YES." Everything up until this point has been worth it. The amount of love and support from the city and the people I now call family has been overwhelming. Now the holidays seem like a real thing.

I think this is the point I'm getting to:

I've spent a lot of time thinking about why this time of the year is so hard for me. I realize it's because when we were kids, we had no worries or responsibilities. It was the feeling of not having a care in the world. That everything in the world was right. That's how I feel now. IT IS NOT SOMETHING MONEY CAN OFFER YOU. I'm still in financial stress, but those stresses seem so obsolete now.

If you truly want to be happy, especially this time of the year... figure out what will make you happy in life and don't stop grinding until you create your own success. Earn the rewards you seek in life and don't give up even when things seem their bleakest.

I can't even begin to tell you the joy I feel for the fact that this year, I am so excited to be home for the holidays on a real break. To be with my family, my beautiful nephews, and friends. This is what happens when you work hard. There will always be good and bad times. Make the best of the bad times because the good truly does make up for it. If you want to be happy for the holidays, work for your happiness. It's gonna suck for a while, but in the end, you'll find the peace you long for.

If you're struggling right now, use this time to reflect on what you want out of life and make a step by step list of how you'll get there. As long as you don't give up...you will get to your land of sunshine...

I believe in you.

If you're reading this, thank you for directly being a part of my holiday happiness. It literally means everything to me.

Merriest of Christmases to you.

Love, Your New Mid-Day Weirdo...

Mark "Franchise" Frankhouse.