2017 is here; I know I was glad to see 2016 become a chapter in the history books. For the most part, I enjoy ringing in the new year - it gives my family and me time to reflect on the past and express our hopes for the future. However, I also dread the mixed emotions I feel with the clean slate a new year brings. It's overwhelming to think of all the possibilities ahead - how does something as simple as a clock changing to 12:00AM hold such power?
All throughout my childhood, I watched my father head out and work many a New Year's Eve gig with his band. I learned from my dad that working on New Year's Eve can be a fun way to celebrate the night. I also think working minimized the grandiose expectations we often put on the final night of the year. Who wouldn't want a New Year's Eve night a la When Harry Met Sally? My dad knew he was bound to have fun no matter what because he loved playing his drums and singing with his bandmates. He had passion for his craft and was dedicated to giving people a good show.
I learned pretty quickly that I am my father's daughter. Throughout my high school and early college years, I had a babysitting job on New Year's Eve. It was great money and I liked having the title of "neighborhood nanny." As I got older, I waited tables and bartended at restaurants and hotels on the special night. Working New Year's Eve was simple and uncomplicated; I pretty much knew what the night had in store for me. Looking back, I can see that I protected myself from feeling left out at parties or being disappointed that I had no one to kiss at midnight. I was so defensive, so protective of my heart.
At some point, you have to open your heart to possibilities and meeting Steve helped me to embrace the risks and rewards of life. Over the years, I've been fortunate to celebrate new year's eves up and down the east coast with Steve. I, like you, wear many hats - mom, wife, co-worker, sister, friend, daughter - the list goes on and on. It's so easy to feel overwhelmed, wondering if I have done enough or if I've done the right things. But, just getting through the daily grind, wearing all these hats is enough. It's more than enough.
I've been trying to shift my thinking to understanding what my priorities are, hoping that this will help me recognize where I should place my energy. My energy is a precious resource that can waver at any moment, and I can only drink so much coffee!
Recently, I was reminded about how, after surgery, you aren't supposed to make any important life decisions. Well, I think the excitement of a new year, a new beginning can lead us to make quick, rash decisions about what changes we think we should make. I really like this article on tinybuddha.com - it is a good self-reflection exercise that can help you focus in on what you really want to do. I'm working really hard on being honest with myself about my priorities; not what I think I should do and not what others think I should do.
As Oscar Wilde said, "Be yourself; everyone else is already taken."