It amuses me how we try to mark so fluid a thing as time, as if naming and measuring and dividing could corral or control the inevitability of it. But we’re all standing here none the less, counting down the hours and minutes, drinks in hand, to welcome what feels like a fresh start, a blank slate, a clean ledger. I’m probably at the front of that group, an entire bottle of champagne in either hand ready to pop, my running shoes laced and tied to better hurdle me headlong into the coming days. The concept of a fresh start has always resonated with and left me uneasy all at once: I’ve never been able to fully internalise the concept of complete forgiveness.
It’s strange to recall the close of 2016 and reflect on the surrounding emotions and thoughts in comparison to those of today. I wrote a year ago about the dredges and the struggles, setting a word of intent for the year as I did so, certain this time would be different. Looking back, this year has arguably been the more difficult of the two both physically and emotionally, but I carry an unexpected measure of peace in my little suitcase of a heart as I turn the handle on the door leading from one year into the next. So much has happened in 365 days, but I can still surmise it in digestible fragments: a wide variety of hair cuts and colours, more tattoos, a new home, different jobs, at least three relationships (two of them convoluted and turbulent), and a great deal more needle sticks and blood tests than I’d care to count. I don’t like how solitary and selfish these things seem on their own, but together they form a context of discovery, of growth, of refining. I’m not quite able to echo the words of Job 23:10- I have a long way to go before these trials and valleys reveal gold, but I trust that the purifying process of the fire is meant for good.
However disappointing 2017’s word seemed at first, it’s nothing to the daunting approach of my word for 2018: celebrate.
This past year- perhaps two- has been of grief: learning how to grieve, embracing it and its stages, and accepting the necessity and healing. But I’m good at grieving, and it’s become comfortable in its familiarity. Celebration feels like an overwhelming and taxing concept right now. To throw off the weeds of mourning and put on a crown and dance? These are not skills I have honed; however, I expect that I very soon will as I prepare to enter this new chapter with all the pomp and circumstance I can manage, and in my very best heels. I have spent weeks planning and preparing for a party of good friends in fine clothes with whom to spend an evening of celebration and discussion, actively seeking to hasten the time on even as we relish the time we’re in. It’s easy to forget that celebration isn’t relegated to parties and prosperity: it’s an attitude and intention to be carried into every circumstance, and attitude with which you decorate every room. The modern Western mind things in great polarities of one versus the other. Why shouldn’t you be able to mourn a loss and celebrate its life all at once?
Even so, I have set my intention for 2018, and I do so with a far greater sense of who I am and who I serve as I do so. I’ll don my Kate Spade and Hepburn style and raise a glass of of good champagne with friends to toast What Has Been and how it informs and continues to live through What Will Be, and together we’ll celebrate the tired close and the coming unknown. I desire to live a life that could never be accused as halfhearted.