I've never been a fan of New Year’s Eve celebrations. Call me a stick in the mud but the idea of dressing up in a cocktail dress, say backless, and high heels, which are usually opened toe, and going out in the cold of the night, to a big noisy party with lots of champagne just to wait to say HAPPY NEW YEAR at the stroke of midnight, grab a kiss and then start for home somewhere in the wee hours, never thrilled me. I will leave that to the party experts without judgment. By the way, I looked stunning in that black backless dress oh so many years ago but even with my beautiful grey herringbone coat, I still froze.
It’s not that I don’t like the changing of the years, it’s inevitable, and it should be celebrated. It’s just that the pressure to celebrate in such a grand style, always stumped me. There was always an annual letdown inside of me after the party ended and I just wanted to hurry, clean up Christmas and get on with the New Year.
I've also been a part of very long drawn out “Watch Night” church services that made the kids antsy and had me checking my watch every few minutes so that I could get the little ones home and to bed. It just wasn't practical when the kids came along to drag them out, again in the cold, past their bedtime to bring in the New Year, after a while, I figured God understood and He and I could celebrate in the warmth of home with sleeping children.
I have brought a few New Years in asleep, not fun either, simply because I knew I was trying to avoid the whole noisy event, which of course always led to being awakened by some loud outburst in the neighborhood or noise makers from a nearby party. No, trying to camouflage my lack of annual end of year spirit by trying to induce the R.E.M stage wasn't the answer either.
I have finally figured out that I need my own way of marking the end of a year and bringing in a new one. I need something unconventional and totally me, something that suits my need for quiet, relaxation and creativity…and no backless dresses.
Along with how I choose to celebrate, I also need some good reflection time. I tried to no avail to put together the top 10 best books I've read all year but the titles from previous years began to run together and I couldn't remember when I read what. So I nixed that idea.
What I do know, what I do remember, is that 2012 was FULL of change for me. It has been a time of great discovery, great pain, great anticipation and new beginnings. I have learned that I can survive on the love of my children (for now) and the few well-placed friends that God has given me. I have learned that God travels and He travels a lot, so the idea of being in any one place on a Sunday morning does not agree with me all of the time. I've learned that I do not like anything that feels religious and I would rather write a poem on Sunday morning and read it to God than perform a ritual just because. I've learned that you can gather together with spectacular people from all walks of life and listen to their stories and grow from the experience.
I have traveled to the west coast for my first writers’ retreat and been published in a poetry journal for the first time. I wrote a song, a book, blogged consistently and produced more poetry than I could have dreamed of. I also reclaimed my maiden name, which was freeing and I discovered that I am not deathly afraid to be alone. In fact, sometimes, it suits me. I've met amazing new people, reconnected with childhood friends, said goodbye to some folks that I've known for a few years and listened intently to the hearts and minds of others that I am somehow connected with, during this past Presidential election. During that time I learned a lot about my surroundings.
Like the rest of America, I've cried during mass shootings and prayed with a grieving heart. I've laughed with my children more and explained life in more detail than ever before. Overall, good and bad included, I really wouldn't change my own personal experiences this year. I understand that, for the most part, all the things that have occurred during these past 12 months have been for my growth. My mistakes, I own them, my accomplishments, I am grateful for them, my tears, I so needed them and my laughter brought great relief. My heart is still open for love, and the willingness to share…but only in God’s timing and desperately needed infinite wisdom.
Fortunately for us, God is not limited by minutes, hours, days, weeks or years. He, like the experience of living, loving and growing…is timeless.
Happy New Year celebration to YOU! May this year bring you UNSPEAKABLE JOY!
And as always, I wish you MORE…