“I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”~F. Scott Fitzgerald
And so here we go; the days before the last night of the year and my stomach is in knots, yet my heart is clear and my thoughts are like stars in the night sky.
I have always been incredibly moved by the end of the year before the start of the next; since I was young I could feel the shift in my bones. This new year, a new slate, a chance, a place to start again.
(I feel that on Mondays, too. New moons and full moons do it to me, like a force that is unstoppable —and well, each morning I open my eyes I awake with the awareness that I get to start again, today.)
But the New Year—crossing over from the last—is like finding a treasure chest full of diamonds. I carefully think through the last weeks of the year—I celebrate each day of the last weeks and the last time I will do the things I do for the entire year—thinking (wishing, hoping) that somehow, when I wake up on January 1st, my life will be different—that I will be different.
This year feels more powerful than most; I’ve been terribly sick these past months, and so rather than mark each day and celebrate parting from this year, I’ve been living in a fog world, with a collection of specialists, a whopping $50,000 spent in medical tests and bills and a terse lesson in how to simply listen to my body. When to go and when to slow myself, when to play and when to rest. It’s a harsh reality and one I have begrudgingly learned to accept because taking on life ferociously is my goal.
And so rest and work and rest and work and movies and food and baths and work and rest and dog snuggles and…sadness. And some happiness too. All the things. (Life is full of all the things.)
This past year, my heart had been still broken into a thousand pieces from the year before. I hadn’t taken my new year to start anew last year…..I was stuck in the previous year. This past year, I learned how to speak my truth and I learned how to use my words for good and I never used them for evil.
This past year, when my foundation had crumbled, I moved into a new place in my heart with my babies and my fur babies; I learned how to let go (again and again) of what couldn’t be or what wouldn’t be—simply for the reason that they wouldn’t fit into my new space. Letting go of these “things” led to letting go of all the other things I was holding onto—limited beliefs, fears, the-worst-things-we-can-imagine-in-the-world kind of things.
This past year, I learned that there is great strength in saying goodbye and I learned that even in the goodbye, we can love like the ocean. Just because someone says goodbye, doesn’t mean they don’t still love you with all of their being.
This past year, I moved bodies and breath and words and I learned what it means to be loved and I found kindred spirits through the magic of it all that I will be connected to until the end of days (and even in the next life, too).
As I sit here, the weeks before the last night of the year, I am full with all of the emotions of this past year and of last year; I am humbled and grateful and sorrowful and full of love and all I’d like to do is lie down and cry, because I feel it all.
In this time, we like to say what isn’t and what is; we like to say how silly it is to make resolutions and yet we like to reflect and declare a new thought for a new year; we throw our words around like weapons and later we remember that we weren’t kind with our thoughts. We like to have our cake and eat it too—and for all these reasons and more, it makes us all that much more human and means we should try to love each other that much more.
I believe everything we do is life; I believe that your life is different than mine and I love that it is so; I will make wishes which could be resolutions or promises or maybe even better thought of as a heart manifesto; I will use each word carefully and precisely, fueled by truth and kindness.
Moving forward, stepping over, starting fresh starts with taking a moment to acknowledge all those moments that have come before this one; who were you last year and who are you now, in this moment? What has changed—and what hasn’t? Did you learn, lose, love, fail, win? Have you lived a full life and have you treasured each moment, no matter how bright or dark you felt?
Most of all—have you lived a life you are proud of? And if not, are you willing to start again?
I bow my head—no, I drop to my knees—as I pay homage to every moment that has led me here.
As I step over into a new year, in a room full of breathing beings, hearts beating, in the quiet of that quiet that only happens in the moment between this one and the next, I will give thanks for it all.