Today is the last day of 2013.
The staging of the past year is being broken down around us. Christmas trees and decorations are going out to the trash and back into storage.
Gifts unwrapped only a week ago are being put away in closets and under beds, some of their new luster already waning. The days are short and bitterly cold, with skies as grey and rheumy as an elderly dog’s eyes.
I’m never quite sure how I feel on New Year’s Eve, although I’m usually a bit anxious. Am I sad that the year is over and time is marching on? Am I excited for a new year with new opportunities and challenges? Or is it just another day, to be lived with mindful gratitude?
I don’t get particularly jazzed about NYE. We never go out because I’m scared of drunk drivers. I never really make resolutions because I know I’ll just break them and feel a sense of failure, so all that excitement over diet changes and new exercise regimens is just not for me. Anyway, I just got a bunch of cute clothes and if I lost more weight they wouldn’t fit well (you see– I”m not a total Debbie Downer!).
Not gonna’ lie here, folks. 2013 was kind of harsh for many reasons. Juggling family and career really stretched the limits of my sanity. The growth of Emily from a placid baby into a fierce toddler presented new challenges for the entire family and once again our fragile equilibrium was shaken. Jack’s ongoing struggles to regulate his amazing, yet at times explosive and unpredictable emotional state continued to mystify and stagger us. We still have not been able to move out of our wonderful but small two bedroom apartment. There has been more family drama than I can shake a dead cat at (wait? That’s not an expression?). There is still never enough sleep or time in the day. And worrying about financial issues consumed nearly every ounce of our psychic space.
So, in some ways, I am perfectly happy to see 2013 go away, watch the credits run, turn the calendar to a new page, get a fresh start.
In other ways, I know not much will change.
Cars will die. Relatives will have health issues. We will march off daily to jobs that offer unique situations and stress. Bills will continue to fill our mailbox. Our children will continue to present with ever evolving needs, desires, and issues.
Lately, the famous quote from Jim Morrison has been coming to mind a lot: “No one here gets out alive.” I think Pema Chodron put it a little less misanthropically when she penned “The Wisdom of No Escape.” Either way, you get the point.
I wrote several weeks ago about my goal to find the joy more early and often in life. In my typical way, it would be easy to say 2013 sucked balls, toss back a glass of champagne and call it a night. But I think the truth is a bit more complex. While it is true this year has perhaps shown me more challenges, and the joy has been more elusive on many days, it has been a year of great personal growth. Growing pains can be quite uncomfortable, but they can also result in strength and wisdom.
This year, we grew closer as a family. Jack learned about Reiki. Emily learned to walk and talk and sleep through the night. We played in the snow. We planted flowers. We picked strawberries and watched summer storms. We watched birds and squirrels nibble seeds from our own sunflowers.
I blogged out my heart and soul and made hundreds of new friends. I had the profound honor of having two posts published over at Offbeat Families, and one post Freshly Pressed. I lost 20 pounds of baby weight. I read novels, listened to music, and danced with my kids.
We carved pumpkins and dressed up as cats and Jedi for Halloween. Jack started karate. We baked brownies and cookies.
My husband and I have had our vows for richer or poorer, for better or worst tested and have come out on top. Jack graduated kindergarten and started first grade. Emily learned to peddle a tricycle and climb to the top of the slide. Jack learned to read. My husband and I laughed and cried over our children’s strengths and struggles.
These are the times I want to remember. Not the messy house or the exhaustion. But while these memories are wonderful, it is also important to remember that life is not a movie. We can rewind in our mind and remember, but we can not re-do or re-experience those wonderful times.
In my mind, New Year’s Day is just another day. But it is also an artificial social construct that has been imbued with significance and expectations that are hard to release. I’m taking my ambivalence and anxiety over NYE as a signal to stop, think, breathe, and be here now. So if I am going to make any resolution, it is just to keep finding the joy, and to continue on my journey to be mindful and kind.
A very happy, healthy, and beautiful New Year to you and yours. Thank you so much for being such a huge part of my life over the past year. From me and mine here at Momaste!