Submitted by: Big Little Wolf
You know what I love about New Year’s? Not the parties, not the silly hats, not the streamers and confetti. I enjoy the days of relative calm leading up to the first, and on New Year’s Eve, I still delight in counting down to midnight, watching the ball drop in Times Square, and sipping a glass of bubbly from the coziness of my own home.
I bask in the delicious sense of beginning again, the possibility of a fresh start. A new year is hopeful – and I’m always optimistic when imagining what the year may bring.
A new sense of self
I take these days after Christmas and in early January to look inward. I think about how my attitude or actions may shift to improve my personal and professional situation, my health, my parenting. As a divorced woman, of course I think about the responsibilities and concerns that remain squarely in my lap; I continue the job of raising kids, with time and money very tight. But in taking these days to reflect, I gain perspective. I see where I can be less reactionary, less emotionally invested in things beyond my control, and where I may simplify. That means letting go of unrealistic expectations, and reassessing priorities.
Instead of considering a sweeping array of changes, I might focus on one or two things I can do with little to no cost. For myself. About myself. Ways to make everyday life better. I’m pragmatic about it, but I never lose sight of my dreams.
Change is the one constant – as we all know. And when we’ve been married and divorced, we’re experts on change, and often, unanticipated ramifications that toss us into foreign and often frightening territories.
When I’m tired or overwhelmed, the idea of more change seems unbearable. But with a few days around the new year (and a little sleep), I realize that the rocky road I’ve journeyed has deepened my capacity for compassion, and provided wisdom. I am a better mother, a better friend, a better lover. A better woman. Change teaches us to call upon the strength, creative problem-solving, and beauty that reside in each of us.
How many times have you started over? And I don’t just mean marriage and divorce. Think about it – new schools, new cities, new jobs – in each instance, you start over. With trepidation, and excitement.
We’re all capable of starting over, even as we get older. Yes, it’s harder at 50 than at 30, but starting over doesn’t have to involve dramatic changes, though it can mean significant ones.
We start over when we make a decision to set aside anger, to focus on our best selves, to laugh more often. We don’t need explicit resolutions to do these things, only awareness. And with these small steps, our days may brighten – and consequently, we lighten everything for those around us. Another benefit? Invariably, we draw more people to us.
A good year ahead
I plan on having a terrific 2010. Not only is it a new year, it’s a new decade! I’m not looking for white knights galloping in with quick-fix solutions to long-term issues. I’m not anticipating winning the lottery. But would I be open to a great man and a little romance? Of course! A terrific new project that is well-paid? Absolutely!
However, what will make the year a good one has to do with me – my ability to sustain a positive outlook, and my resolve to take better care of myself so I may be ready for whatever comes my way.
There will always be challenges and work – but I intend to bring my feminine will, wit, and wiles to the forefront, and on all fronts: dressing nicely each day (because I enjoy it), writing more often at my favorite café (less isolating), and welcoming human connections as simple and far-reaching as a hello.
What can you bring to your new year, to make things brighter for yourself, and those you love?
These days, Big Little Wolf (”Ms. Big”) reflects on life and her Daily Plate of Crazy, where she writes essays on everything – sometimes serious, sometimes fun – whatever strikes her on a given day as interesting, unusual, entertaining, or of concern.