It is that time of year. Again. I find that with each passing year, ushering in a new year requires more and more mental preparation. Perhaps it’s a sign of my age, but for me, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day passes at a glacial speed. I like to think that the slowness of the week is a result of the anticipation of starting anew on January 1st. Indeed, for many, January 1st marks the dawning of a new day, separating past limitations from full-on human potential. This is the time that one’s annual record of transgressions, vices, and failings is wiped clean, at least metaphorically, and the proverbial clean slate is ours for the taking.
Ever since the 26th of December, I have been contemplating the New Year. Some thoughts are mundane (revising our household budget), some thoughts are frightening (contemplating preparing our tax filings myself), and some thoughts are fantastical (welcoming another child into our family). Regardless of my thoughts on the matter, I am well aware that I am limited only by myself both today and in the New Year. And there’s the rub.
Since I’ve been married, each December I’ve created a photographic family calendar. In doing so, I am forced to revisit the year’s highs and lows in pictures. In an especially busy year, like this year, such an exercise is as necessary as a bottled of chilled Champagne on December 31st. It reminds me of where we have been, what we have accomplished, and where we are going. It reminds me of what is important in life. It reminds me of love–both being loved and loving. It reminds me of grace. And it humbles me.
As the human psyche demands, I categorize things as much as possible, including years that have passed, making for a simple calendar title. 2014, the year in which [S] was born, was dubbed the Year of Wonder. 2013, the year we learned I was pregnant, was rightly named a Year to Behold. This year, as I sorted through photos of two cross-country trips to visit family, movers moving, saying goodbye to family and friends (including loyal four-legged furry ones), and starting a new life on a military base in Japan, I had no other choice than to name 2015 the Year of Living Boldly.
Sometimes people strive to be bold. Other times, being bold merely is a byproduct of circumstances. In a former life, I worked hard to be bold. But after this year, I am able to say, without reservation, that the latter is by far the more seductive and organic of the two. Making tough decisions, embracing change, going with the flow, and making do with whatever comes one’s way necessitate that one live confidently and courageously, if only because failure to do otherwise would be tragic.
I see the year’s effect on me in small, almost insignificant, ways. I stopped using recipes to make soups. Yes, really. I see it in in momentous and powerful ways. I stopped sweating the small stuff. Yes, really. And I see it in meaningful ways. I agreed to put [S] in daycare for a few hours each week. Yes. Really.
To be honest, I’m not sure if I want to start the New Year anew. Rather, I’m hopeful that 2016 will allow me to continue this period of immense–and intense–personal growth. When I first started writing in this space, I acknowledged that I am a work in progress. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. But I also acknowledge the gift I have received by witnessing my becoming more complete, be it as a woman, partner, mother, daughter, or friend. And this is especially significant as I had no idea of the depth of the void.
May the New Year bring you peace, health and happiness. And may it be your best year yet.