“Regrets collect like old friends here to relive your darkest moments…Shake it out.” – Florence and The Machine
So it begins. It’s the last day remaining in 2015 and here I sit in an oversized arm chair in the upstairs room of a crossroads coffee shop, gingerbread latte on the red end table next to me with a foamed milk heart floating in it’s steamy center. For the last couple of months I’ve been struggling to corral my thoughts into a cohesive paragraph and have thus far been wildly unsuccessful. ‘Today’s the day,’ I thought to myself as I rolled out of bed. It has to be. Tomorrow is the first day of the New Year, and if I’m going to officially launch my new year’s resolution it has to be on January 1st. So, with a gung-ho attitude and the drive only a procrastinator can muster, I sought out the most appropriate location to be alone with a laptop in the corner of the room and collect my thoughts.
I suppose I should clarify a bit. My New Year’s resolution for 2016 I have decided, is to create and maintain a blog for an entire calendar year. I did the creating part with the help of Square Space and a patient husband, the maintaining part? That ball is totally in my court. I’m equal parts giddy about it and dreading it. I’ve always entertained the idea of having my own little corner of the internet to fill with thoughts and rants and stories, but the idea of giving myself – to be frank – more shit to do in terms of creating fresh posts and maintaining relevance makes me wonder what I’ve gotten myself into. It’s kind of like that moment when you join an organization in college to fill the “get involved” quota in your mental success checklist. You feel good about yourself, but then you have to start volunteering to head up committees and help organize annual events and you think to yourself, “This is way to much time to be spending on something that I’m not even getting PAID to DO.” Why sign myself up for this at all? Because it’s a challenge. It’s something different. It’s a bump in your daily routine. To me, it’s what the hype surrounding the New Year is all about, and here’s the thing…
I love the New Year. It’s easily my favorite holiday. Waking up on New Years Day is like waking up after you’ve taken the best shower of your life. Everything is brand new. Squeaky clean. Fresh AF (as the kids say now-a-days). There is nothing that can’t be done. Treadmills are fired up. Cigarettes go unlit. Diets are strictly followed. Everyone is on his best behavior. It’s like we all accepted the extra credit assignment and are hell bent on completing it. All too soon, however things even out. Attitudes and outlooks return to normal. Corners get cut and society settles back in to it’s old routine. But for one day – 24 whole hours – everything is so positive. It’s beautiful. People are good. They’re kind to each other. Polite. They go out of their way to do the right thing. Optimism oozes out of every little corner of the world. Empowerment abounds and for a time – however brief – disappointment and self-loathing and fear and cruelty are stifled. All of the negative fades into the background and for a short while our cynicism softens and our inner warmth radiates. As an inherent believer in the good in people, this makes my soul smile. For one shining, fleeting moment the gooey center of the hardest of hearts is exposed. For one day my naive ideal is indulged.
Along with all of this glowing positivity is the time honored tradition of the New Year’s Resolution - an open challenge to yourself to do something new or maybe to stop doing something all together. I talked to a chick one time who said one of her best resolutions was to “sing more.” No joke. In the shower, in the car, at work. Wherever, it didn’t matter. She just wanted to sing more. However pointless it may have seemed at the time, as the months went by her disposition became brighter, her attitude toward the ordinary became more positive and she found herself with less “resting bitch face” and more “permanent pleasant face” – a shining testament to the power of smallest of changes, even the seemingly trivial. If you don’t make them, you’re seriously missing out. It’s good to shake things up every now and then. One year my resolution was to wear skinny jeans. For the longest time I had this complex about my knees. They curve in and would do my best to hide them. Skinny jeans pretty much do the opposite. They highlight every curve and contour. In a pair of those bad boys there was no hiding. Over time my confidence grew and now, you know what? I could care less about my weird, curved knees. I even wear shorts now. One year I resolved to read more books. That year, my husband and I had some of the best conversations discussing plot lines and character flaws and writing styles – it was fantastic. Another year it was to send birthday cards to friends and family via snail mail (another one of my favorite things that I suppose I can save for another post). This year I resolved to make a quilt and ended up with not only a warm, snuggly finished product but also the added bonus of quality time spent with my late grandma who inspired the project and my mom who helped me add the finishing touches.
Who knows what the end result of 2016’s resolution will be. Maybe I discover things about myself through my ramblings. Maybe my grammar skills improve. Maybe I increase my vocabulary. Maybe someone reads one of my posts and finds inspiration to do something great. Maybe all these posts go unread. Whatever the outcome may be, I will relish the satisfaction and frustration along the way. So, here’s to new challenges, new beginnings, and the power of positivity that the New Year brings. Cheers.