New Years and Now


It is -18 degrees outside.

Most of the diners in the area are closed, so I am eating breakfast in a McDonald’s. It is quiet except for the pop music they play just a tad too loud. There is snow outside.

I woke up next to the woman I love. Our first New Year’s together. Both of us have families and children from a previous marriage and so often holidays are kind of fractured affairs to see everyone that is so important to us.

But this weekend is ours. The seeing in of a new year is ours.

A new year, but here I am doing what I do every day. A time of prayer and meditation.  Time to journal. Time to write. The inward focusing time that fuels introverts like me. Last night my love asked me if I was going out to write. I was thinking about it. She said she thought I should. She knows the value of it.

The sun is on my back. Yes, it bleaches out the computer screen a bit, but the warmth is welcome

It is New Years.  A time of anticipation. Of Promise. Of new hope. Of resolutions. Of, for many of us, change. We are going to lose weight. (the classic resolution). We are going to write the novel, get the new job, get the help we need, become great, or greater. We are going to pull out of our dark place. We are going to …..

… become better.

We all know though, that it’s just a day. Not unlike the others except for the power we give it, the choice to make this day the starting point of new things. We choose to do on this day something we need to do: Release the old and grasp the better.

And that’s the magic of New Year’s, isn’t it? That we give it that power. We choose to mark this day as a day of new beginnings, of washing away the old and becoming the new. What if we gave any day that power? What if we recognize the truth, that any day can become our new year.

In recent years, I have come to measure new years by relational things.

The most recent one was May 20th, my wedding day. A day that everything changed. But even that day was just one in a long chain of days and decisions that brought the woman and I together, that brought us closer.

Each day a decision. Each day a new start. Each day with the possibility to create newness, to change our course, to move in a new direction.

I like small changes. The big, wholesale “I am going to change everything at once” method has never worked for me. I am not sure it works or most of us. I know that for me, a parade of tiny changes works a lot better. I don’t get overwhelmed, or disappointed, or sidetracked. I get lots of little victories to celebrate and reinforce the fact that I can do it.

Little changes are not overwhelming. They are not wearing. They are not scary. If we slip on a little change, it’s not a big deal.

And so, knowing what to keep is just as important as knowing what to change.

My love knows this time in the morning is what sets my day. I pray. I write in my journal, purging the dark stuff in my head. I write. Hope rises again in my day. I can move forward. More importantly, I do move forward. Days without my routine are off kilter, never quite gaining the traction I need to be as effective as I need to be, never quite being who I want to be on that day.

She and I have talked about what we want for the new year. Yes, we have some things. Resolutions? No, I am more gentle with myself than to call them resolutions. Hopes, with action. Dreams that can be reached and touched by action.

The subject has come up several times the past week or so, and a fair number of things have emerged. All good. All doable We will, I am sure, make progress on most or all of them, even as we don’t dismantle the things that we love.

It’s been a lazy couple of days. It’s too cold to go out. No walks on the beach or along the trails in the mountains for us. Quiet time. Talks. Fixing meals. Going to the movies. Afternoon naps. Reading.

Refreshing, spiritually and relationally. A time, more even than Thanksgiving, to remember and celebrate my blessings. Plans got frozen out, and something just as good floated to the top.

I am not rich. I have a modest house, modest cars, a modest life. But I have people who love me and people I love. I have interesting and rewarding work. I get to live mostly on my schedule and my terms. My creative and spiritual life fill me.

Remembering and keeping the good things. It is just as important as resolutions, second chances, and new beginnings.

In fact, it may be those things we keep that make the things we want possible.

Happy New Year my friends and readers. Celebrate today. There’s good stuff ahead. There’s good stuff around us right now.

Sipping coffee.


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