The year is winding down, and I survived (*knocking on wood*). I survived Thanksgiving, and the mad dash to prepare for Christmas, and the holiday parties, and Christmas Eve with my in-laws, and Christmas Day with more extended family and other in-laws. There was a not-unheard-of amount of drama, and mess, and stress. Then there was the quiet.
A few days after Christmas things tend to get…still. I think it this happens as a sort of recharging, or as self-preservation, or perhaps from mere exhaustion. This year, nature must have sensed the need, too, because it cooperated. A cold front descended, a bit of snow fell…the fireplace roared, candles were lit, and a dram or two of whisky helped to keep the chill at bay while friends came to visit and we all talked long into the night. And amid all the hustle and bustle of the season, a moment of quiet was found.
As the last few days of the year dwindle down, I tend to get more reflective and perhaps a bit maudlin. Each year tends to have a bit of a theme that becomes clear as the year draws to a close. 2012 was The Year of Writing. 2013 was The Year of the Move. 2014 seemed to have been The Year of Medical Drama. Three (Four? Five?) Familial Hospitalizations (one of which resulted in Five Fewer Bodily Organs), one eye surgery, and untold visits to doctors, urgent care, and pharmacies later, I think this year has earned its moniker.
I have no idea what 2015 will bring, but I start each year with good intentions, and aspirations, and hope. I hope that 2015 will bring health, and love, and good stories, and enough. Food enough to fill our stomachs, warmth enough to keep the chill at bay, money enough to provide for my family and friends (and a bit more to help those whose faces I may not know but whose needs are real).
I want to read more, and write more, and spend more time with my family. I want to feel more comfortable in my own skin, to learn a new language, to figure out how to knit more than just the one type of stitch. I want to put in a bigger garden, and cook healthier, and walk/run more. I want to let go of things I don’t need (be it the boxes of extra things in the attic, those couple of holiday pounds that crept up on me while I was making merry, my sometimes paralyzing writer’s doubt, or the dull ache of mom-guilt). I want to hug more, worry less, try harder, and laugh louder.
New Year’s Eve will be here soon. My husband and I have decided to claim this as our holiday. Unlike Christmas, or Thanksgiving, or the Fourth of July, no other family members have a claim on this day. There are no familial obligations tethering us to anyone else’s expectations, traditions, or demands. We don’t have to go anywhere or do anything. No one’s feelings will be hurt by our absence or alternate arrangements. It is ours. So, as we see the backside of 2014, there will be candles, and a peat fire in which to throw the remains of doubt, dread, and regret so that we don’t carry them with us into the new year. (Likewise, before New Year’s Day, Christmas will be carefully packed away so as to not carry the remains of the last year into the new one.)
As the last hours of 2014 dwindle down there will be a toast to whatever is to come, followed by strict adherence to the plethora of superstitions to ensure a prosperous new year (first footing at midnight and, after the new year dawns, there will be black eyed peas, something green and something gold, and finally–on Twelfth Night– the burning of the greens).
But until then, I’ll revel in the last of the turkey, and the glow of the Christmas lights, and the familiar comfort of a year well lived. Bliadhna Mhath Ùr!