New Year's Eve...a night typically filled with parties, dancing and champagne toasts at midnight laced with nostalgic, and sometimes painful, memories of a year gone by. We reflect and assess, taking stock of the past 365 days and often many of the years before. We look back at choices and decisions, admonishing ourselves for negative outcomes and questioning the what if's, the could have been's and the should have's. We take inventory of the successes however large or small and remember moments both sweet and bittersweet.
NYE, for me, has always been an emotion-filled day with the memories and dreams coming on stronger as the night wears on. Tonight is no exception. There will be no champagne toast, no party, no dancing, no romantic dinner, no midnight kiss. Tonight, I am sharing the holiday with my mom and sisters in a delux room at KU Med where S has been for the past few days. The news isn't good and our moods are somber with little room, or want, for the overdone hype that accompanies every New Year's countdown. Tonight we are each lost in our own thoughts...immersed in our devices, searching for the mindless comfort that comes from a small screen.
For each of us the year has brought change. I refuse to speak to the emotional weight the others are carrying, but it's safe to say we are all filled with more than a small amount of worry and grief for circumstances laid before us with an ever-increasing certainty. I am yet again reminded that life is short, that we only get one go round...that it's the people who matter, and little else...and that all we can do is live our own truth, however difficult that may be.
The images of the past year appear in my mind as a slideshow...much I am proud of, some I wouldn't mind forgetting but each hold a special place no matter how blurred the edges may be.
In 2015.... I bought my very own home...attended my 20th class reunion...buried my beloved dog, Charlie...I got to see the Rolling Stones in concert and saw first-hand just how great Mick's moves really are...I got dressed up and danced all night at more than one fancy event...I gained an even greater appreciation for a good glass of wine and the healing power of a cocktail shared with a good friend...I continued to weave the ever-changing maze of raising a pre-teen and found myself face-to-face with questions and scenarios I'm certain I wasn't ready for...I took that same incredible girl to her first big concert, and watched with complete joy as she sang along to every word...I learned more about the depths of love and the lengths one will go to show it even when words aren't possible...I've been humbled and encouraged, reminded gently that the world does not, in fact, revolve around me...I've seen people rise above their pasts and I've witnessed others fall victim to the demons they are unable to outrun...I've laughed and I've cried...I've learned the importance of knowing what gives me energy and am working to eliminate the things that drain it...I taught my 11 year old how to work her locker combination and say back and watched her navigate the scary new world of middle school...I continue to realize my weaknesses and flaws and constantly pray to rise above them all...I'm learning the power of true and complete forgiveness, for others and for myself...and I took on a sweet puppy named Gracie who is filling the void left by Charlie in ways I couldn't imagine.
I don't do resolutions or regrets. There are things I wish I had handled differently, and find myself less than proud of the impatience and anxiety I allow to rule my emotions all too often. But mostly I am thankful. The slideshow is full of things that brought me joy. There was no great vacation, but there were long summer days by the pool and nights spent bowling with friends. There were meals at my favorite restaurants with people I love dearly. There were projects on my new little house and a housewarming party so perfect I couldn't have wished for anything more. So, tonight as I close out 2015 I am certain I am right where I'm supposed to be. There will be more NYE with parties and champagne and silly little hats. One night defines nothing...it is merely page 365 in this year's book.
I am looking forward...to 39...to life with my soon-to-be 12 year old...to raising our sweet puppy...to time spent with people rather than a small screen...to taking better care of myself physically, spiritually and mentally...and to toasting many things over the next 365 days with those of you I love so dearly.
So long 2015...Happy New Year!!!
It hit me today that I love the holiday season, but that the actual day of Christmas makes me sad. I love all of the preparations and parties, all of the time spent with people I don't see very often, the cards and gifts, the way everything that will look cold and dead in a few weeks looks magical while lit up with twinkle lights. I am encouraged by the spirit, lifted by the generosity. I find myself nostalgic and introspective, looking for meaning in places I may otherwise overlook. I seek the Child even when I've been blind to His grace most of the year. I reach for the familiar and crave tradition constantly trying to create memories that I so desperately need to carry me from year to year. I remember Christmases past...caramel corn, peanut brittle and fudge made so lovingly by my mom and grandmothers...Chrismas morning "rules" I've carried from my childhood and others I've made up as I go along.
There is a sense of joy that comes from seeing friends and family if only for moments. A best friend who will travel with her family across the country whose hug can literally erase miles and time. Families take a break from all the crap if only for a moment to remember the real reason behind all the shopping, stockings and National Lampoon movies. We reminisce the past, embrace the present and look forward to the future with optimism and excitement. For a few weeks we toast co-workers and friends, seeing only the good and momentarily forgetting the bad.
I love a full calendar. Parties and events, reasons to get dressed up, champagne and promises. I become more mindful, more thankful...more...lonely. Yes...I am human, and real...and when it's all said and done, I find myself feeling lonely. Christmas Day most of all. I find myself longing for something...what, I'm not entirely sure. It's a combination of the let down I feel when vacation is over and the dream of what I want it to be...it's just a day, like any other...yet, somehow, we build it up to be so much more. I think we try to make one day make up for all the other crappy ones from throughout the year. We set standards we can never live up to and wind up disappointed when the reality doesn't even come close. It's not about the gifts. It's about the people, the magic and the spirit. It's about sharing the day with those we love yet remembering it is just a day...it may be Christmas, but Christmas could be any day and we put too much emphasis on one 24 hour period. It's about carrying the joy beyond December 25th.
I want more this year. More of the people I love. More laughter. More remembering. More memories. More champagne and fudge. More grace. More love. More forgiving. It may not happen, but I'm sure gonna try.