The weather was terrible last night, with wind and snow, and several times I heard the ambulance, the police, and I worried; this is what New Year’s Eve was for me, one filled with edginess and restlessness and, yes, fear. Eli went to a party with his friends, a party hosted by responsible adults who don’t drink, a party filled with kids and fun and midnight four wheeler rides, and I still did not rest well until I got them all safely home. People who drink like I used to drink are out, you see, and I know how quickly everything can change. I hope, this morning, that no one I know and love was hurt, that none of my friends’ lives were changed irrevocably by careless actions of people who are like I used to be. I am grateful, too, that my own irresponsibility was never punished by causing irreparable damage to someone else’s life.
This is not a holiday of rebirth for me, a chance to look at the year past and make new resolutions. I don’t do resolutions, because if I am doing what I am supposed to be doing, in recovery and in life, I should be taking stock daily and working on what needs to be worked on. I don’t sit down and write out a list of grand plans for the year, with these self-imposed rules that I need to follow, sweeping changes that I need to make. I am not critical of those who DO this, please understand me. It is just that for me, making a decision to change myself, my life, is a daily project. So-no dramatic declarations of losing weight! Eating healthy! making more money! for me, but instead a quiet determination to keep doing what I have been doing. I suppose the resolve, if that is what you want to call it, is to simply keep getting up in the morning, putting one foot in front of the other, and moving forward.
There have been a lot of changes this last year, these last months and weeks and days. I can’t sit back and examine them all, because I would either be filled with an inflated sense of self importance or would be plunged into the depths of despair. I know this: that I have made friends and lost them this year, that I have been both hurt and healed by people I love, that I have found reserves of strength that I didn’t know existed. I have learned that real life is dramatic enough without needing to stir the pot, and that self-care sometimes involves distancing myself from those who still need to create drama-even when it hurts. I have learned that those who love me simply love me, and that even when I make mistakes, there is no mental tally being made, no past transgressions being stored up for future use. I have learned through these long months that I need not apologize for who I am-as long as I make an honest effort to let go of those character defects which are detrimental to myself and others (which god knows is easier some days than others), as long as I love with all I have, I can look into the mirror at the end of the day and like what I see.
To look at the year ahead of me as a whole seems daunting; the temptation is great to try to project what might happen, to plan for every possible scenario and mentally gird myself for what might be ahead. This is not good for me-because I have also learned that no matter what I think might happen, I can’t prepare for every eventuality. I can spend the days worrying about what is ahead, but I know that things will happen no matter how prepared I think I am. Instead, I need to simply live for this moment, this day, and trust that no matter what, I will be given what I need to thrive.
So today, this day that for some is such a portentous time of year, I sit looking out the window at the snow falling and I say a prayer to whomever might be listening. I say a prayer for the people I know who are floundering with the enormity of life, I pray for those who are nestled peacefully in the arms of someone they love. I pray for change, and for the ability to weather change with dignity and grace. I pray for the things for which I pray every single day-the ability to love more fully and to let go of the sharp edges I still carry around. I pray for the woman I know who is worried that the baby she is carrying is no longer alive, and for another woman who just found out that she is carrying new life. I pray for courage and strength for two other women I know who are struggling with the question of whether or not love is enough to save a marriage, and for those I know who have decided they had to leave a marriage to save themselves. I bow my head in gratitude for new love for one family in particular, who have managed to find each other after death and divorce and have merged into a complete unit. All this, and so much more.
So. This day is for you, whoever you are who might be reading this. My wish is for abundance and peace, and on the days when those things seem so far out of reach as to make life feel hopeless, I wish for you strong arms and loving people to carry you through. I pray that each one of you gets exactly what you need, and for the courage to take what is given freely and run with it. I wish for good food that nourishes the body, and good books and conversations and letters that nourish the mind. Whatever it is that you want most, that is what I wish for all of you.
Happy, happy new year, yes, but really, happy, happy day.