With each year, there are some things that change and some that remain constant, some you gain and others you lose. In the moment, sometimes these things seem greater than they are. And sometimes they really are just that great.
When I was young, each year came to a close on a good note—because how could it not? We banged on pots and pans with wooden spoons, blew on party horns, threw confetti, and danced with sparklers. We danced and sang and celebrated. Then, just when I thought I was starting to figure out things in my life, everything changed. Two of my closest friends lost their mother unexpectedly, mere hours before the clock struck twelve one New Year’s Eve. We watched the ball drop that night, somber and scared and bundled in blankets from the couch in my family room, but our year had already begun. The time that followed was difficult for all of us, but somehow still sprinkled with some good.
We learned that that was how things work—good and bad so closely intertwined that the lines become blurred.
My years are measured in two ways: from the first of January to the thirty-first of December, and from one birthday to the next. These overlap—the lines between them blurred—but it makes for an interesting way to look back at how I spent my time, to see what I am leaving behind, before I move on to what is next.
My highlight reel from 2015 includes:
- Walking Manhattan’s High Line for the first time
- Starting from earth and stars
- Growing sunflowers
- Seeing Mumford & Sons perform for the second time
- Welcoming two sweet rabbits into my life
- Building a palace for said rabbits (which was the first time I built something from scratch)
- Seeing Taylor Swift perform for the third time
- Spending an evening with my friend from New Zealand and experiencing our first rooftop bar
- Having two of my old roommates from Ireland visit for a long weekend
- Laughing more than I’ve ever laughed with good people
- Watching my sister coach her first game as the head coach of a collegiate field hockey team
- Becoming a vegetarian
- Celebrating nine decades of Nonna’s life
- Reconnecting with old friends
- Trying new recipes
- Planning new adventures for the new year
It has been another time for growth and change, but, all in all, I had a lot of good this year. I count myself incredibly luckily for all of it because I know so many others did not have the same. People struggled through sickness and war and hate, through change and fear. They fought to keep breathing, to keep living. Some made it through and others did not.
But now the year is coming to its end and we must part ways.
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne
Say goodbye to this year. Write it down. Re-live it in pictures and notes and ticket stubs. Be grateful for the change it brought. Then close the book and move on to the next one, the next year. Keep moving forward, as much as you can. You don’t have to wait for a new year to begin. You don’t have to wait for a month from now or even tomorrow. Resolve to work harder, grow stronger, laugh louder, become better. Then start right away, right where you are.
This holiday celebrates the difference of a year—which is only one day, a couple hours, a minute from the last. It can be bittersweet or unwanted or completely welcome, but it will happen anyway.
So, what’s next?