Sunday, December 29, 2013


Today I took down the Christmas decorations: the ornaments are in their big plastic tub with the angel tucked in on top of them, the nutcrackers and snow globe and fat green candle are in their bin, and all of the Christmas dishes are out of the cupboards and in their bin.  The furniture is rearranged, no longer needing to fit around a tree, and the leaves are out of the dining room table because I won't be serving dinner for ten or twelve again any time soon.  The accumulated dust and pine needles of the month (it's awfully difficult to dust garlands) have been cleaned away, and the crystal wine glasses no longer reside on a silver tray on the piano, but are back in their cupboard.  Only the fragrant wreath (which has stayed fresh due to foggy mornings and cold nights) with it's big red bow remains, mounted next to the front door, because it is still winter and dark, and I love it's symbolic cheeriness, reminding us of green and growth and life, pagan symbols as old as time.

I love to put away Christmas before the new year begins.  I will take any chance at a fresh start that I can find, and when I wake up on New Year's Day, I like my house to be fresh and clean, the refrigerator stocked with healthy greens (after all of the cookies and beef of the holiday, I crave kale and chard!).  The chaos of friends and relatives is a memory contained within the walls, but the new year is a chance to make new memories, and first the house needs a little rest.  I will vacuum and dust, make sure that sheets are fresh, that things are stowed away, in preparation for my fresh start.  I will start again, the old behind me, looking out at the path ahead, staring down the road of possibility.

I am ready to embrace this new year.  I'm filled with quiet excitement, because I know I'm on the cusp of so much. I am prepared to love the changes that come, even with bumps and hiccups and scares and detours.  I plan to love this year fiercely, to appreciate it, to nurture it, to build it.

I am prepared to begin anew in 2014, as I prepare every year, but even moreso.  The old Christmas carol says, "Let every heart prepare Him room" and perhaps that is what I'm doing.  I'm preparing to live my best life (I'm not a Christian, but isn't that what Christ was all about, living in integrity and joy?), and maybe even to make room for a him with a lower case H.

Over the next week, I will file paperwork, draw up budget spreadsheets, give away things that no longer fit or serve.  I'll send thank you cards to end on a note of gratitude.  I will craft a list of ideas to implement over the next year.

I love fresh starts.  'Tis only a day on the calendar, but it's a day with a reminder to think about who I am and what I want, and I will celebrate it.

On New Year's Eve, I will be at a party with Katherine, and I will be the only single amongst families.  We'll play board games and talk and laugh and they will make sure that I don't feel like the odd girl out, and I will forget that I have no romance in my life whatsoever.  There will be a moment when the clock strikes 12 when I will feel my chest tighten, wishing that I was feeling hands on my hips, tipping my face up to receive a kiss...but then we will sing Auld Lang Syne and the moment will pass.  The next day there is another party, a brunch, and the festivities will continue.  I will not make time for sadness, because I will not welcome sadness during this fresh start.  I only welcome the beauty of my life, and the possibilities of the future.

How do you prepare for the new year?  What does New Year's mean to you?

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