I've been thinking recently, about how much has changed in a decade. How 10 years ago my friends and I sat on the brink of so many 'beginnings." Getting married, having babies, forging careers, on top of all of the other (usually) thrilling things that come attached to our twenties, before we are forced to pay much mind to the weight the future unfolding before us. Where we get to sit blissfully in the shadowed sidelines of wondering what is next, enchanted by the idea of fresh "starts" while figuring, with good intentions nurtured by naive assumptions - and by some simple miracle wedged in between - that it will all work out for the best if we just trust in it.
Ten years down the line though things look and feel a whole lot different than some of the stories we kept written in our heads. Some of the marriages we toasted in bad satin gowns on warm summers nights coming unraveled and dissolved. Babies who's cheeks we kissed endlessly at those early birthday party gatherings in the back yard celebrations grown into long limbed kids with fresh attitudes startling us sometimes in the flicker of a moment when they appear suddenly unrecognizable, bringing with them separate means of battles and struggles we as parents never feel properly prepared for. Careers fought hard for winding up jobs we're stuck with. Sickness in our circle of friends settling hard and grief rooting itself in the familiar scenes of our current life's narrative which keeps handing us situations we didn't expect. Lessons we didn't see coming. Circumstances we tried to avoid, in realities that feel a whole lot heavier than we ever envisioned at 22, 26, 28 trying to decide on ideal wedding locations and suitable first baby names. Sentiments I stir up not to tread a somber tone here on the eve of a new year of which I am eternally grateful for, but to open up the voice of what small despair at the end of the year sounds like.
Really, I wanted to draft resolutions and reflect on the year past, to outlines smart ways to grow and become a better person like tradition tells us we do this time of year. To embrace and applaud a fresh start, but truth is I feel rather distant from that whole ideal now. The reason for a long pause here stemming largely from feeling slightly alienated by fact of my own lingering sadness in a forum meant to highlight and inspire - where we get and give the 'best of" in return for better praise of it. I wanted to focus on resolutions, I did, and parties, and positivity, but at the close of this year, I can't help that my heart feels heavy and my thoughts about the future have been floating too reckless to align. When I think back on 2016 I can recall plenty of laughter and love and sunshine, adventure and good times surrounded by people we love but also the startling acceptance of uncertainty. The fear that resides after a 4 am call from my sister informs me that my mother had a heat attack, or hearing news on vacation of a friend (and mother my same age) losing her battle with cancer. The vision of my boy darting into a crowded street after his Tonka truck went barreling away from him that cut through my dreams for so many weeks after reminding me of what could have been, the unexpected loss of my best friend's father, the face of her grandmother who we visited weeks after, a women I've known since I was 12, with an old mind deteriorating too fast to fully acknowledge him gone. I think about the bleak news stories showing bloodied and displaced children as prisoners of war minded intentions, a good portion of our beloved childhood heroes passing with ruthless ferocity, a grotesque president on the horizon I still can't bring myself to accept, and overall a general feeling of helplessness that comes from the palpable heartache in and around me, a feeling I know I need to shake but also accept that in order to do so I have to garner and regain a new sense of hope and trust in the path ahead, where each new years seeks to show us nothing is ever certain.
So this year I emerge bearing no resolutions kept tidy on a sheet for me to share or refer to. No major changes or promises to myself other than to maybe enjoy the sun on my face a littler deeper and the passing of time a little sweeter. Reminding myself occasionally (as we should) that as long as it's all moving forward and we're headed for another year we should never take for granted the great gift of hopefully emerging stronger and wiser on the other end of each next trip around the sun.
With that, I wish you all a happy, healthy new year full of love and enlightenment.
Below, some fun times I caught during December. Where I made the unconscious decision to put my camera down more than usual and found greater joy in real time spent with good folks.
My Movie from Mrs. Habit on Vimeo.