January First

As a kid, my parents always went out for New Year’s eve, and my grandma would stay with me. We would fold out the rough tweed couch into the childish magic of the hide-a-bed, pop some popcorn, play Monopoly and watch Dick Clark with his fancy ball-drop in far-away New York City. She would let me bang pots together on the porch, then I’d fall into a heap on the folded out couch and watch the blue light from the tv flicker in my grandma’s glasses as she read into the night.

Even then, New Year’s Eve felt sad and kind of lonely. My parents would come home acting giddy and loud and smelling funny, and my grandma would be softly snoring. I wonder if I was ever a typical child- somehow I think I was always me, even then– aware of my differences and not knowing yet what to call the yearning and stretching of my heart. There had to be more, I would think, as I pressed my cheek to the cold, black window glass and looked out at the winter dark sky. These feelings were always amplified by the shift from the holy and sacred of Christmas the week before into crass and disposable of New Year’s Eve.

My feelings haven’t changed much.

Resolutions are not something in which I indulge. Not ever. Making bombastic proclamations about what I will or will not do is a recipe for disaster. There is no fresh start- no magical flipping of the calender that denotes a new day. We start from right now, this moment, always. It’s all one day, all one continuum and any divisions we impose are our own. For me, I do better if I hold my heart in my hands, checking it often, and making minute course corrections as I ride the tide ever forward.

I don’t want to look up each year when the calender turns and wonder where my life went… For me, being here, now, gaze towards heaven, heart open and unafraid, is the only way to be really alive. No resolution can hold that.