Only half awake, my Facebook feed came up with Rod Stewart, a longtime favorite, singing Auld Lang Syne. Maybe it is the coming super moon landing on the first, maybe it is the end of a year that perhaps wasn’t my best, but the poignant rendition made me start to reminisce.
The very lyrics remind us to not forget the past. The good and bad times, the changes, and most importantly the people that have come and gone in our lives. Although the literal ‘raise a cup’ got out of hand somewhere down the line and New Year’s Eve is often a time to drink to excess, the kindness of raising a glass to those we love is always a good idea.
I began to think of NYE past and how in my youth, I too, partook in a bit of excess, but as the years went on I realized that nothing was more satisfying than ringing in the New Year with the people that mattered most in my life.
I have lived through Y2K and the end of the Mayan Calendar. I have heard prophecies claiming numerous dates that the world might end, and yet, here we are. I wanted to look back at 2017 and sort through the many challenges and heart aches that made it a difficult year, but then I realized, I’m still here, too. I made it and despite much adversity, I still have hope that 2018 will be a New Year full of promise.
A year to try again. To make plans, dream dreams, and live life. It is difficult to live “the life you’ve always imagined” you will find naysayers at every turn. It’s too risky, it’s crazy, ridiculous… the list goes on. It is also very easy to slip back into the familiar, the comfortable, the easy. Your old life is constantly knocking on the door trying to find a way back in, but once you have cast it away, it is impossible to live that way again.
If you analyze your past and look at the times you felt the most alive, you will find a good starting point to finding your true self. And though we all have responsibilities, we must on occasion dream about the life we would live if we didn’t have so many; “I musts.” We must not use it as an excuse! Life can be a long and twisted path, but if we don’t make changes we will never grow, never get much further down the road.
I started small. Made little changes. Silly things really and it took several years and the help of the few that believed in me, to make the leap. Yes, it was risky. Yes, I’ve made mistakes and most certainly I still have responsibilities, but as I look toward many new choices that I must make this year, I only know one thing for sure and certain: I am not going back. Not getting on the treadmill to nowhere. People will shake their heads and gossip behind my back. Do I care? Sometimes, but why would I let that stop me from living my life?
I have lost many people over the last few years, in many ways. In retrospect, I have spent most of my years either alone or feeling alone- either by choice or circumstance- and I have learned some important lessons. Ultimately, we all are alone in our journey, but those who walk with us down the path are integral in helping us find the way. Those who decide the road is too treacherous, would have only held us back anyway. I've heard it said that “Some come into our lives as a blessing, some a lesson,” Well I say: A lesson is a blessing. Without them we could not move forward.
Each time we move forward, change routes, recalibrate and start anew, is just as scary as the first time we set out, but for each lesson we receive we bank a little more confidence, a little more faith, clarity and a little more certainty, that we are on our true path.
When I was a child I took part in many family road trips, and like many others, was fascinated to find the moon following our car so closely. So, as the Super Moon rises on a New Year, I will take comfort in knowing that light will always be there to illuminate my path no matter where I go and the lessons I have learned will guide my tentative steps. I may not end up where I have planned to be, but that is okay, because I will end up where I am supposed to be.
Whatever paths you choose, and wherever your life lessons lead you, I wish you a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year spent in the company of those you love.
Now, won’t you raise a glass with me: for Auld Lang Syne?
Endings are often difficult. As another year comes to a close, I look back on the many I have been through this year alone.
Sometimes they come as part of a plan, an inevitable chain of events. Sometimes they come with no warning and take your breath away. And sometimes, they are welcome after a long arduous path has found a dead end.
Regardless of which form they take, it is always impactful. Sometimes we dread what we know is coming and then by the time the moment arrives it seems almost anticlimactic. Worrying only served to drag out the pain before, and did nothing to shorten the loss after it happens.
Sometimes you cannot possibly be prepared enough and no matter what you try to ease the pain, it does not make a dent in your grief. Even the good endings have their own set of issues: Guilt, regret, apathy…
And there are also the endings that come and are ignored. Life continues on as before and we choose to act as if it does not matter. That somehow if we let it slide, things will magically change the eventual loss. Perhaps, it is only a partial loss or simply a change of status that will never go back to the way it was before. These endings are vague and can almost slide by unnoticed but for the niggling sadness that continues day after day as you wait for the dawning moment of realization.
Experiencing loss effects everyone differently. The holiday to season offers plenty of time for reflection. Memories of family and friends of days gone by. An ornament that reminds us of someone that is gone from our lives. A recipe that transports us to grandma’s kitchen. A tradition that has been passed to a new generation that will become a special memory for them someday when you are gone.
I lost my mother last month, her name was Joy. With the holiday season upon us I am constantly reminded of her in songs, decorations, and movies that proclaim, Joy to all! I am making the effort to make sure my family experiences as much of that joy as possible as they too deal with the loss.
As I look to 2018, I know that I will, as we all do, continue to experience loss, but I also know, that there will be much joy and many new beginnings just around the corner. Hope is the cornerstone of life that keeps us searching, propels us forward. The world is struggling to find its way right now and trouble seems to be on everyone’s doorstep, but we mustn’t lose hope.
With Christmas comes a slow, warm melancholy that allows us to feel sad. As the snow falls softly outside my window I am reminded of the quiet of winter. A candle burns in the window lighting the way home and the twinkling lights on the tree remind me that there is still magic out there, you just have to believe. Well, I still believe.
I wish for you a holiday season filled with Joy and magic and a happy, healthy New Year full of incredible new beginnings.