Happy New Year

Happy New Year to you all.

I hope you had the best of holidays leading to this new year. I woke this morning to a newsfeed filled with sadness. A young girl I do not know but belongs to a family I sort of know through this word of writing is fighting for her life after a terrible car accident which also injured her sisters. A woman whose name I know and maybe whose face I’ve smiled or nodded at in local events states away from another lifetime has spent the past two weeks, including Christmas, praying for her husband’s survival after a widow maker heart attack. Their children celebrated the joys of the season wondering if their father will ever come home. If you’re interested, in my slight Facebook stalking, it looks like he’s doing much better than expected and will hopefully make a full recovery. This news appears to come after the family prepared to say goodbye altogether, so it’s amazing news. Another woman I don’t know outside of this digital world of writing within groups where connections are made like sparks from a power line gifting the world with light lost her son two days after Christmas. My eyes teared reading the strength he gave her. Oddly enough, I know more about him and the lifetime bond they shared than I know about her writing. Maybe it was how I was supposed to know about her over the few years I’ve gotten to know her. I looked forward to seeing photos of her son’s smile as they journeyed this world together. His passing was peaceful, and she appears to have her own peace with this new chapter for her life, but I cannot imagine the ache left in her heart. I have one in my own, and I don’t know either of them. Not in real life, that is. We know a family in our neighborhood whose daughter, who just turned a year old this last weekend of the year, was diagnosed with leukemia just before the season started. They’ve spent close to every day and night in the hospital with their daughter since early November. I have a friend I know and love dearly who lost her beloved dog on Christmas day. They were about 3,000 miles apart. There were no goodbyes, just distant tears through the obligations of celebrating the season from far away. Another dear friend I know well and love sent me a text yesterday telling me she was okay and had the goal to try not to be sad as she rang in the new year alone starting a new path without her wife.

You see, this season, the holidays starting in late fall and heading into an early winter’s chill every year is filled with joy. Happiness. Celebrating. Giving. Loving. Kindness. I’ve grown to accept this is the time of year we pause to celebrate all the year has given us. Some of us spend this time reflecting on what we may have lost over the year and resolve to carry on either because we’ve been given the gift to do so or because we’ve spent the year knowing we deserve it. Often our resolutions are resigning to a need for change or acceptance. No matter what we’ve survived on our own throughout the year, the holiday season has always been reserved for celebration. A time protected in a bubble of elves, fake snow, greens and reds, flickering lights, hot chocolate leaving whipped cream on the tips of our noses, and the laughter which follows. Sure, there is always the stress of the season too. The end of fourth quarter for businesses, finals for academics, endless shopping lists and budgets sitting on the shoulders of giants. But all of those things are fodder for a guarded season. A time of year where pain and hurt, all the things in life we deal with all year, are not welcome.

This year, like every other year for many, the season hit, then rolled through just like any other season of the year. A heart attack here. A funeral there. A medical diagnosis. It isn’t a protected time. The tiny dreamer in me wonders if I’ve always lived in this magic bubble high on pumpkin spice until my true inner cynic popped the layer of protection still hiding me in all the glitter of wrapping paper and ornaments until these past few years. Maybe in years past, I recognized life happening to others during the season but pulled my fleece blanket over myself sending out positive thoughts while pushing it all away.

This year I am reminded each day, no matter which week nor month it falls, is a new start. There are no rules for play here. We don’t get days off because it’s our birthday. Life doesn’t stop and protect us during a time of reflection. We push through and make the best of each day as long as we are given the gift to do so. To top it all, we are connecting. The stories I shared are of lives not within my personal world. In this age of social media and digital invasions, all too often we hear how we are not connecting as a society. We don’t meet and speak one on one anymore. My life has been touched by lives I don’t know. If we believe in a higher power or energy covered the world from pole to pole and pyramid to pyramid, this is an age connecting us more than ever.

At the start of this new year, I hope you all see each new day as a fresh start. Life will hit. Some will be gentle taps while others will be blows knocking us down weak and afraid. It might hit on a holiday. It might hit before a season of joy and wonder with pain management crossing into protected days. But we can handle each day. We can live through those times with the gift of life. Don’t wait for the joyous season for reflection. Don’t wait for the end of the year to make goals for the next you. Don’t wait to become. Live each day this year with renewed purpose. Hope, pray, meditate…do you. Do what brings you strength in times of weakness and in times of strength.

There are no sacred days. No protected seasons. Take each sunrise as an awakening. Spend the light of each day reaching for that light. It comes every day. Reach for it, and when you find you haven’t touched it just yet, give it another go the next time it rises.

This is a new year.

Take it by the reins, smile for something – even if your story is not at its peak. Instead of waiting for the end of this year to celebrate all the year brought, do it every day. We don’t know what awaits us before the sun sets.

All the best for today and all the days to follow.

~Stella