I love New Year’s Day. I love the idea of a fresh start. A new beginning. A blank page. Over the past several days I have enjoyed hearing everyone’s goals for the future and reflections on the past. I’ve had some nice conversations with my kids and my husband. I have read folks’ writings online and heard them talk on television. I even smile at the cynicism when some share that. I understand the tendency for all the reflection and resolution making to sound cliche. But for the most part, there’s such hopefulness as people look forward, and wisdom as people look back. I love being a part of all that.
I’ve been thinking of the past twelve months and looking ahead too. On January 1, 2014 I began a “One Line A Day” memory book. Set up like a five year diary that I once had when I was a child, the book invites me to pen a condensed recording of events each day. The small space to write reduces the pressure to write and after 365 days, I now have completed year one. Today I’ll begin at the start of the book again, for year two and I’ll be able to see what I was doing, thinking, or feeling the previous year on that date. For example, looking at the journal now I see that at the start of 2014 I had a bad cold, began reading Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, and due to snow we had three additional days of vacation, delaying school until January 7th.
At the start of 2014, after hearing Father Sam talk at Mass, I adopted three words of inspiration: Courage. Faith. Perseverance. I thought of those words often throughout the year and as December came to a close, I’ve pawed through the pages of this journal book and I must acknowledge that those words served me well. I was definitely courageous this year. First and foremost, my biggest challenge was in pushing forward in a new year that for the first time in my life began without my Dad. I got my feet steady underneath me and held onto faith that all the changes in my life were making me stronger. I’ve persevered and have come to trust God’s timing like I never have done before. After struggling to settle my brain in the second half of 2013, I was able to relax and read more books than ever before in 2014, finishing 36 in twelve months’ time. I accepted a writing gig and was paid for sharing my thoughts! I listened to my instincts and quit the job a few months later, but not until I had earned enough to treat myself to a pretty yellow chair that now sits in my bedroom, serving as a reminder to myself that I will always find wondrous new opportunities when I seek them.
2014 brought me to my firstborn’s graduation from college and her move to a new state. It brought me back to the beach, at both the ocean and at a lake just 10 minutes from home. It brought me back to the dock at camp where again I learned that life goes on and that my parents’ absence is only physical. They are forever a part of me. 2014 brought my son to his first year of high school. It brought me a new puppy and another couple of “firsts” as I’ve never owned two dogs at the same time before and have never owned a small dog. The year brought me opportunities to do random acts of kindness which were so much fun. 2014 was the year I undertook documenting 100 days of happiness, 30 days of gratitude, and 10000 steps a day/100 miles a month. It brought me back to the gym, to counting steps with a Fitbit, and it led me to organize a supportive online fitness group too! The year brought me a new pixie cut, a new professional teaching blog, and the pride of seeing my first group of International Baccalaureate students successfully pass their English program.
The year brought me continued unconditional love as my husband and I celebrated 26 years of marriage. It brought me many beautiful moments with my elderly Mom. It brought me more adventures with my three children and lots and lots of warm embraces. And more puppy snuggles too.
Over the past few days I have gone on several walks in my neighborhood. Some of those walks have taken place in the morning when the sky is bright. Others have been taken in the glow of the moon and the stars. With the children home for the holidays, in the midst of a full house, the walks have allowed me reflection time. And they have reminded me of the one thing that 2014 most brought to me. Peace.
I don’t know what 2015 will bring. I haven’t set any resolutions per se, and I haven’t selected any new guiding words of inspiration, but I do plan to continue in the direction I’m going. I’m feeling good. I’m happy. I’m excited for the future. I’ve got some things to work on but I’ve got confidence and patience to continue to trust in God’s timing. Whether you've taken time to reflect, set goals, or snicker at those of us who do, I wish you all the happiest of new years. Happy page 1.