This week during my lunch break one day I went to Starbucks to get some work done, (I know, working on my lunch break from work… I live the hustlers life, you see), and as the barista rang me up for my hot passion fruit tea, (I live a refined hustlers life), we had a short conversation about the great feelings that the New Year brings and how good it felt for him to be able to start the year over fresh. It was the first time that day that I had really stopped to appreciate the hope in the air and the freshness of the new year. Having gone back to work that day after a long week off, I was drained, stuck in a daydream about my fantastic week off, and missing my boys so much. My thoughts had been far from having an “attitude of gratitude” and hope. Thankfully I had this barista come into my life for a few short minutes and jolt me out of my foggy haze.
The second Christmas Day has passed, all these feelings of hope and excitement rush in and the only thing on everyone’s minds is how they are going to hit refresh and rewrite the stories of their lives. We get out of the house and we bring our fresh planners and new pens and we look out onto the horizon and we dream about who we want to become in the new year and what we want to accomplish.
I’m not saying I don’t do it, too, because I do. Since my birthday is December 10th, my new age aligns conveniently with the end of the year and I’ve always taken advantage of that. As soon as I’ve turned another year older, all of my dreams and goals and visions for the year pour out into the light of the new day and the very first thing that I have to do with my new planner is sit down and actually write out my goals. Not a list, not a breakdown of how I will accomplish those milestones throughout the year, but an actual full blown paragraph structured written compilation of what I would like to make happen that year.
Though, this year, something weird happened after Christmas. It was short and maybe only lasted half a day, but I became nervous for the new year. The uncertainty of what could happen to and with my little family, the prospect of my dreams not coming to reality, the easily conceivable outcome of failing everything I want to accomplish this year – all of it became this huge weight on my chest. I was not excited to see what the year would hold for me. I did not like the anticipation of the unknown. It was not exciting for me.
My desire to have the year mapped out and narrated there on the spot to me bloomed right from a silly little thing that I said to myself: “Wouldn’t it be nice to know how the year was going to turn out, at the beginning of the January?” Sure, it would be nice. It would be nice to know if I’m getting a raise or if I will finally sit down and write that book. Knowing exactly when Jude will take his first steps or say his first words would erase any thought in my head of trying to place his development on a timeline. With the answers to when I might trip and fail at a goal, I should be able to see the challenge when it appears on the horizon and construct a plan to jump over that hurdle with magic Peter Pan flying capabilities… right?
Probably. Possibly. Maybe I’d still miss all the warning signs. Even if I knew how my year was going to turn out and how I could avoid all the tough stuff, I don’t think I’d really want to. The tough stuff, it can really hurt. Saying goodbye to our family’s home last October is something I wish could have never happened. I haven’t experienced that level of true sorrow and heartbreak in a very long time. The house on Vintage has joined the other ghosts who come to visit me in dreams while I sleep. Sometimes it’s just reliving the pain and other times those dreams are the sweetest conversations filled with new experiences.
As much as my heart breaks every time I wake up and realize the dream is over and Vintage no longer belongs to us, it’s an experience that defines who I am. Just because we had to sell the house does not mean all of the life invested in that house was wasted. Instead, it’s another piece of armor to add to our defense; another verse in the tune of our hearts; another drop of wisdom we count in our minds.
It took me a few hours, probably even that whole day, but I finally came to the conclusion that I didn’t need to know how 2017 was going to turn out for us. There will be successes and joyous moments along with the failures and the pain. I want to live it all to the very fullest degree possible so that I’m filling my lungs up with every possible space of breath and opening my mouth with every last possible inch of smile. I want to live this year fully comfortable in my own skin and grateful for the body I’ve been given – I know I once was capable of being strong and quick and light and free and I know I am capable of being that again. I want to wear who I am on my sleeve and not be afraid to be vulnerable or let others see the the colorful fabric of my true personality. I want my yes to be a yes and my no to be no. I want to always be available for the friends that I am so blessed to have but I also want to carefully guard my time at home with my husband and son and cat and writing. I want to be fearless this year. I want to feel the relief of a good cry. I want to laugh a lot, everyday.
Ultimately, I want to remind myself that his grace is always enough. My to do list might not always be the priority of my day. Work and goals might not get done as easily as I expect them to. I might not sleep enough one night and snap at my husband the next morning. I might let people down – in fact, I’m sure I will because no one can be perfect. But at the end of the day, I will praise the name of the Lord who protected me through it all and still calls me his daughter.
I am anxiously expecting 2017 to be one for the books.