A Happy Year to You (and Happy Birthday Little Blog)

Last week was one year since I started this blog. It was also the first full week of the new year. I am excited and encouraged that this blog has made it through its first 12 months. It makes me think a little bit of the Hawaiian tradition of celebrating a first birthday with an extravagant celebration, pulling out all the stops, digging a huge pit for meat, spending hours layering leaves, and gathering family from near and far to rejoice that a precious little one has made it through the first difficult year of life.

If I had space and a yard or even just a shovel, I might dig a meat pit for this blog. I am that excited. So many other writing projects have come before this experiment of creative expression, and some have not fared so well. But given the constraints of urban life and my lack of dirt removal potential, a lovely lamb shank in a dutch oven will have to do. Don’t worry little blog, and all you wonderful readers out there, I am so happy that we have made it this far.

Even with all the excitement of the milestone, however, I do have to admit that I am always a little apprehensive about the start of the new year. I think for ages I have dreaded what feels like the expectation of resolutions and fresh starts. Starting over can be fresh and new and wonderful, but it can also be a little bit daunting, like you’re supposed to remake yourself from scratch all of a sudden, leave all the dregs of yourself behind and be new. Be kind and motivated, a little bit more like Mother Teresa, and sexy too. Oh and then keep it up all—year—long. That’s what awaits. Opportunity. The chance to be who you thought you were going to be last January 1st. Forgive me for being paralyzed with the fear of societal expectations and resolutions I dream up in the dark, nascent moments of a new year’s eve. I am only human.

However, lest I sound like I don’t love the ball dropping over top of a million people in Times Square or the throwing of confetti in the air and kisses when the clock strikes, 12, let me assure you that I do. And I love new starts too. That’s kind of why I started this blog. To embrace opportunity. To make a new start. To reach out and become someone that I dreamed of being.

But I cannot walk into the new year, so fresh and new that I forget where I have been. I think that is one of the dangers of the fresh and new. Yes, we all love a good new start, but maybe sometimes what we need is really looking at where we are and helping the seeds that we have already been planting to flourish and bloom. Maybe it’s not all about starting over and remaking who we are. Maybe it’s not about change. Maybe it’s a little bit about carrying on.

This year the new year caught me in the middle of several big projects. I gave those early days of the year a few sideways glances, almost daring them to pressure me into deciding to try and be things that I am not, and I stayed quiet, waiting, listening to my heart, refusing to put an artificial time frame on my growth and dreams.

I honored the looping of the year, the restart, the change of the date and celebrated with people near and dear to me, throwing our own fistfuls of confetti high into the air and watching it rain back down on a moment made fresh by the cleansing of the calendar. But I did not imagine that the moment was not born of the moment before.

I appreciate circles and seasons and the rhythm of life. I love when the leaves fall and then snow blankets the ground. I like to feel the undulations of the Earth as it rolls through the cycles of the universe taking me with it. And I wonder if when we roll around to the new year, maybe we are reborn. Maybe each Spring is new. Each flake of snow meeting the ground for the very first time.

Or maybe we have been here before, and we can look up and see that we know this road and we can wander down it again, this time knowing where to walk off the path and find the beauty.

Because we are always growing, always becoming, always living in opportunity. These truths are not the sole purview of January. They are the inheritance of us all, everyday, as people who are holding on to the crust of a planet that circles again and again.  

And so January came. And I looked at my projects, the ones that have been on my heart and in my soul for months, and I knew that to carry on was my purpose. To keep walking. To continue. To be the person I had been cultivating all along. I was not in a place where a radical overhaul was needed. I had done a little of that somewhere along the road in the middle of a year when January could barely be seen as it fell off the other side and traveled back around again.

But even with my distrust of a forced start, I did appreciate the pause, the reminder that we were coming around to the beginning again, a time to consider and ask myself if I am happy and spending my time the way that I want to be spending it. A moment to reflect and realign and shore up.

And who knows, maybe next year, a fresh start and a radical overhaul replete with pressure and expectations will be exactly what I want and need. But for now, I am happy to load the dutch oven with a celebratory meal for all that has come before, thankful for you and this space and the realization of dreams, and the hope of new desires, as I keep typing while we circle the sun once again.

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