The New Year was ushered in with very little fanfare at my house. Last night we had a nice dinner, then pretty much just hung out. My son was in bed by 9:30; my husband and I did some lounging and watching various programs on TV until a few minutes before midnight — at which time we switched channels to watch the ball descend in Times Square.
Our lack of activity was not exactly new; most New Years Eves are spent quietly at home. Neither my husband or I have an overwhelming desire to be out partying. But something else felt different to me. Usually, as the crystal ball falls and the confetti flies, I feel a bit of a rush of excitement over the coming of a new year…or I’ll get a bit misty listening to Auld Lang Syne as we say goodbye to the current year. What startled me this time is that I felt…..not much of anything. Almost like I was indifferent to the calendar change. As those crowds in NYC cheered, I felt more like I was taking a deep breath and saying “ok, let’s see what 2013 has in store for us.”
For many, if not most of the people I know, 2012 was a long, difficult year and they are happy to see it end. Certainly there have been challenges…national tragedies, natural disasters, illnesses, a still uncertain economy…. people who have lost loved ones, lost jobs, or are just plain struggling to makes ends meet. We still send troops to what seems to be a never-ending war, only to wonder if they really will be brought home next year then sent off to the next powder keg country. We have a government that is more divided than ever, spending more time arguing than being productive — I don’t know about you, but any job I’ve ever held required me to be able to make important decisions, take my responsibilities seriously, and meet deadlines…or risk getting fired. Apparently those same guidelines don’t hold true in Congress. But I digress.
So yes, it has been a tough year for many. However, I’m generally a positive person, and I certainly saw a lot of bright spots over the past 12 months….births, new friendships, new opportunities and even new jobs for some, travel, family time…. and even with all of our problems, we still live in a pretty amazing free country. Because of these factors, I know last night I wasn’t feeling pessimistic. Today I’ve been thinking a lot about it, and I believe what I was feeling was more just uncertainty and cautiousness — and I think that is what created my ambivalence and lack of excitement.
I can say, however, that no matter what my mood last night, or my concern of what is to come, underlying it is my ardent belief that every New Year gives us a chance to start fresh. A chance to feel like we have a clean slate, to make positive changes in our lives and in those around us. We have been given the gift of more time. How lucky is that? Without quite realizing it, I have personified this today by spending most of my day cleaning my house — packing away or tossing out old clutter and clearing the decks, breathing in new clean fresh air.
Last night I shared a post on FaceBook that put into words some of what I was feeling, about remembering that we always have the chance to make positive changes in our lives. It read: There comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right. Pray for the ones who don’t. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is part of life, getting back up is living.
Now that it is 2013, we all have the opportunity to get back up, dust off any remainders of 2012, and live life to its fullest potential. I may not have that spark of excitement in me yet, but I do have a bit of optimism and strength.
Right before I sat down to write this post, I looked at a card that one of my BFF’s sent me upon the birth of my son 12 years ago. I still keep it attached to my bedroom mirror for exactly these moments — when I need to cast away my uncertainty and my indifference. So to all the other Real Women out there, take a deep breath and read the same words with me now as we head bravely into a new year:
“Believe in something you can’t even see. In hope, faith and possibilities.”