Happy new year!

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Well, here we are on the last day of 2015. What a year I’ve had. I’ve learned so much and have been through a lot. And while I’m ready to move on, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

As I get older I feel more like me than I ever have.

I got a book from a good friend for Christmas. It’s called “tiny beautiful things.” It’s a compilation of columns from the online advice column “Dear Sugar” written by Cheryl Strayed (author of “Wild”). You can find the column on TheRumpus.net. I really dug the book. I finished it very quickly. I found myself reading the letters asking for advice and before I would read Cheryl’s response, I’d answer it in my head.

I may not have had the exact same response (she adds a lot of her personal experience in her answers) but the gist was there. I like her candor. And her “dirty smart ass” style. I can relate.

Many times while reading, I thought “In years past, I’d have had a totally different reaction to that question.” But here’s the thing. As I get older and I gain life experience, hardly anything comes as a surprise. Additionally, over the decades, I’ve learned skills for managing the hand I’ve been dealt. In the end, it doesn’t matter if you like your hand or you think it’s unfair or wish you had a different one, you’ve gotta play it like you want to win. And I don’t mean beating an opponent, I mean being victorious over whatever it is that’s troubling you. To transcend it. To truly rise above. To reach for the light.

That’s where I find myself this New Year’s Eve. I’ve risen above the hand I was dealt in 2015. A lot of things were taken from me. And a lot of things were given to me — some I wanted, some I didn’t.

But now’s my chance to decide what I want to take with me into 2016 and what I don’t. I can manifest my own destiny. My own happiness. I can just decide: “I’m happy, goddammit!” And I will move on in that way.

So tonight will be a low-key, low-pressure celebration of the new year. Michael and I will be alone. The kids have plans with friends. I’ve got a gluten free pizza in the oven and French champagne chilling.

Over Christmas break, I bought some wishing paper at a boutique in Estes Park. It’s a special kind of paper that burns very quickly. The idea is to write down my ideas and then burn them as a way to release them. I plan to write down things I’d like to leave behind in 2015. Then I’ll write my wishes for 2016. Then I’ll give thanks for all of the things, people and experiences that have gotten me here. I plan to make this ritual a new year tradition. It’s a great way to honor the gift we’re being given: a new year. Another chance. Tabula rasa. A fresh start.

I already know that big things are in store for me in 2016. Some things that have been taken away will be given back. I have new opportunities that lie ahead. I’ll be traveling to new places. I’ll be moving to a new home in a new city. I’ll be sending my daughter to college. And I couldn’t be happier to be here, having gone through what I did to get here.

There will be plenty of things that happen that I don’t yet know. I open my heart to the possibilities.

I like this adulthood thing. It’s not always pizza and champagne, but hey, it’s a pretty good gig. It’s pretty liberating to be able to let go of things and people and ideas that no longer serve my greater good and devote my energy to things that provide me with more positive.

So, cheers, my friends! Ring in the new year like the bad Mamma-Jammas you are!

Salud!

Prost!

Zivjeli!

L’chaim!

Salute!

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