January 1 dawns on us all as another new year. The opportunity to start fresh, to mend those not so healthy/productive/soul-filling ways. We clink the glasses, we sip the bubbly, we smooch our sweethearts and find ourselves filled with the excitement and possibility of a new year.
Then the holiday shimmer wears off. The empty champagne bottle clangs into the recycle bin. The Christmas tree sits brittle by the road with the other yard waste pick up bags. The presents are unpacked and played with, yet still have not found homes on the shelves or in the closet. The kids are getting on each other’s nerves. The holiday outfits are at the dry cleaner. The alarm clock is set again after days of non-use. The gyms are crowded. The grocery store’s baking aisle no longer beckons (as loudly). The resolutions bending, if not already broken.
This year, I made no promises to myself. I made no expectations of the new year. We hiked New Year’s Eve day by the Chattahoochee and enjoyed discovering new trails as a family. We stayed up late and played games and watched movies. The seven year old made it to midnight. I felt myself seduced by a new year’s new hopes, fell asleep happy and woke up ready to tackle 2014.
Then, I experienced another a-fib episode while bending over to pick up a toy on the floor. For 40 minutes, I felt my heart beat erratically as if it was trying to escape my rib cage. I cried. I breathed deeply. I apologized incessantly for my defectiveness. And I vowed not to care about the “new” year. Not that it isn’t important or exciting or thrilling to make new promises, set goals and enthusiastically go about reaching them. I’m a big believer in all those things. But I wanted more regular. More normal. More steady, dependable heart beats. More moments.
Yes. I’d like a bigger home. Yes. I’d like to live closer to our families. Yes. I’d like the day-to-day drudgery to be easier. Yes. I’d like to write more. Yes. I’d like to travel more. Yes. I’d like all of those things. But what do I have? A husband who doesn’t just worry about whether I’m happy, but whether I’m fulfilled. Two beautiful, smart, hilarious, frustrating, snuggle bug boys who still fit on my lap and nestle under my chin and hug me with all their growing, bony angles. A home that is warm, mine and filling with more and more memories each day. A job that is challenging and flexible. Dreams that still whisper and tempt me in all the best possible ways.
I don’t need to be seduced by what could be better when things are actually pretty damn good.
So similar to the blank pages I hope to fill with words of color and emotion when I write, I am treating this new year as just days filled with blank pages. Some may be written with new events and new people. Others may be familiar as nursery rhymes or as boring as grocery lists. But every day will be filled by me. By me and my moments. By the moments that make up our life. A life that is beautiful and messy and constantly evolving.
This year, I resolve nothing but the blank page. I can’t wait to see what story our lives have written on it this time next year. The best part? The story will only continue.