Tomorrow — it will be the New Year. And, traditionally, that has meant absolutely nothing.
As an adult, I’ve never devoted too much time to pondering what the New Year will hold in store. I’ve always returned to my track record: Which is to say — It’s going to be bad.
In years past, it meant fancy dinners, donning little black dresses and the clink-clink-clanking of champagne glasses — almost always followed by blacking out in cabs, or at bars, or on my couch — my black, open-toed heels still strapped to my blistered feet.
To my own credit, I sometimes have made attempts to kick off the New Year with a few, tiny shreds of hope and optimism, only to be thwarted later, and reminded that, no — No-Siree-Bob — this year isn’t going to be my year either.
I’ve never been one to make resolutions or to scribe an epic list of the things I hope to change and improve. That’s never been my style. And, I have always surrounded myself with people who were equally disillusioned. I mean, why bother? A kiss at midnight and a fifth of whiskey always seemed like more than enough. Until — it became too much. And, even in letting the bottle go, I have still managed to get lost in my unrealistic expectations.
In 12-Step meetings they’ll tell you that expectations are future disappointments. And, in some cases, that’s very true. I’ve spent most of my life waiting for something or someone that will never show up. I’ve tried to resurrect things that were cold and dead in the hopes that I could make them breathe again. I’ve wanted to fix everything, picking up the jagged pieces of my life like a broken wine glass from the floor, my fingers bleeding, never thinking to cut my losses and start over. Even in sobriety, I’ve made the same mistakes, over and over, expecting some different outcome. — The very definition of insanity.
But, as much as I’ve lost to my own expectations, in my sober adventures, I’ve also found that there is much to be gained by being present, and expecting good things in the moments for which I am truly there. Sober, I’ve made myself open to possibility — more than ever before. I’ve found gratitude for small things. I’ve learned that, sometimes, the same mistake can take you somewhere new — somewhere magical. But it won’t always happen on the first try. Or the second. Or even the third.
Now — more than ever — I have to be careful without cowardice. I cannot roll in and out with every tide, nor can I plant my feet in the sand. I have to remind myself that I’ve spent too much of my life writing off my own expectations. And as a result, I’ve tolerated the shittiest of situations for far too long and I’ve let myself off the hook when I should have remained accountable. But, this year, something is different.
For the first time in years, it’s looming. — Big change. — Like watching a storm cloud break over the ocean and seeing the sun spill out over the dark waves. Good things — they’re coming. And, for some strange reason, in this new year, 2015, all my dreams seem plausible.
My wish for us — whatever this New Year may bring — is that we be present for all our days. That we live in the moments that raise us up and in those that leave us wanting. Because, like Baba Ram Dass has told us from the very start, to Be Here, Now, is to truly live.
And so, it is with some relief and a twinge of sadness that I bid farewell to 2014. My year of beautiful mistakes. Not the least of which has brought me to this moment — one where I stand most presently.
On this New Year’s Eve, I hope that you find yourself as I do — In love.
For, where there is love — all things are possible.
Happy New Year.