In my past, New Year’s Eve has been a bit of a downer. No, this isn’t because my mom used to cheerfully insist we eat lentil soup at midnight for good fortune. (I actually enjoyed the familiarity of that tradition, Mom, no matter how much I complained!) Instead, it was because the holiday was tied to the feeling of endings instead of beginnings. Festive decorations were coming down. Holiday vacation was over. We “festively” proclaimed, “That’s a wrap!” on the year, but there was so much I hadn’t accomplished. These nights would end with me falling, barely awake, into my pillow.
But then came 2018. We were honored to open our new home to a small group of some of Indiana’s finest, all celebrating our survival through the last year. There were the snacks, the countdown, the toasts, the midnight kiss, the fireworks, the confetti… But sitting on my couch after our fellow celebrators departed, I was wide awake. I found myself excited. Scratch that: I felt truly festive! If you know me well, you know that me on the couch with eyes open after 10 p.m. is an anomaly. Naturally, I grew even more awake with the curiosity of wondering why.
It seems many of us agree that 2017 was a rough year for so many reasons. I can’t tell you how many holiday cards and social media posts I saw repeating this sentiment loudly through December. But as I sat on my couch and scrolled through memories of the evening, text messages received, and sentiments posted, I felt a sense of hope.
Maybe my own blog is actually starting to work on me because I find myself walking into 2018 with anticipation and optimism. I hear in the world an exhaustion from the focus on all that is negative. Perhaps I’m naive in thinking said exhaustion will change our world’s exclusive focus on bad news. But I don’t care. I’ll wear my naivete proudly. I choose to hope.
New Year’s resolutions? Yup–I even made some of those, and even they feel different. Instead if dolling up a list of things I feel like I should do (into something that appears motivating), I wrote a very honest list of things that I want to do. And–shocker, I know–I actually feel motivated! Yes, research is proving year over year that most resolutions fail by February. In the past, I’d use this to chastise myself. Sure, I may still fall off the bandwagon this year, too. If I do, however, you won’t find any self-torture from this gal. Why? Because I vow not to do it. This year, my heart is in a different place.
My prayer for all of you out there is that you, too, feel the hope of new beginnings. If you made goals for yourself, bravo! May you be driven forward by true desire, not the “ought to” monster. If you did not make a resolution this year, I still say bravo! You are self aware of what works for you, and you probably don’t need things like January 1st to spur you into action.
Happy New Year, everyone! I hope the turn of the year has and continues to be a source of authentic joy for you.