Monthly Archives: December 2013

For auld lang syne, my dear

“There are far better things ahead than what we leave behind.” C.S. Lewis

On December 31 2010 – This was my very first New Year’s Eve in Nashville – my new home with my new friends. We put down $100+ to have an unlimited amount of fun at some swanky place downtown. I was so excited about being an adult on NYE, fancy dresses and food, but it turned out to be a disaster. I mean DISASTER – one of the girls passed out, there was an unbelievable line for drinks and to top it all off, Pei Wei for catering. And while everyone kissed one another at midnight, I vowed, “Never again.”

On December 31, 2011 – But then, I did it again. A party was being thrown at an abandoned warehouse and a good 50-70 people we knew all agreed to go. So we shelled out the money to attend knowing it was going to be the most epic party because what better way to spend New Years than with a massive group of people you know? Photo booths, all the dancing you could want, hipster sightings left and right…you name it. Fun guaranteed, right? WRONG. But again, the hype leading up to it paled in comparison to the real deal; the night ended up being a major fail. For starters I wore the wrong shoes and ended up leaning against a wall in pain while I tried to find my friends for two hours. And of course, the icing on the cake was when the DJ forgot to count down to New Year’s and at 12:05 PM the crowd disappointingly murmured, “hip hip hooray.”

On December 31, 2012 – This was going to be the New Year’s Eve of New Year’s Eve’s. Again, I put down an embarrassing amount of money for another upper class party. But I told myself that this was a surefire event because a small group of us were going and that would ensure that everyone stayed together and had fun. Plus, as a charity event it was going to be filled with classy folks in their finest pearls. After all, we’re adults! Sadly, by the time we arrived at the party at 11:20 PM (not a joke), everyone was in a fog, the food was gone and the party was looking pretty limp. By the time the clock stroked midnight, everyone was headed toward the doors. Let’s just say, that was the most expensive 40 minutes of my life.

Screen Shot 2014-01-01 at 12.00.54 AMIt’s funny how much we build up New Year’s Eve and yet, it’s always, ALWAYS a let down. I have yet to meet someone who says, “Man, now last year’s NYE party, that was done RIGHT.” It seems that no matter how much money we put down for these fancy four-hour fiestas, it’s never fulfilling.

Maybe it’s because we have it all wrong. Maybe what we’re doing is celebrating the wrong things with the wrong motives. It seems the annual theme of New Year’s Eve is to say “out with the old and in with the new.” We say goodbye to the past 365 days of pain as we frantically usher in a new year with a clean slate. But 364 days later, we find ourselves in the same place. And so, the cycle continues, like my bad party choices year after year.

But as we count down to 2014, what if we tried a new approach? What if we replace this desperation of putting our bad memories to bed and highlight instead, all the wonderful moments of our year? What if instead of trying to say goodbye to 2013 as quickly as possible, we embrace it and savor every last moment all the way up until midnight?

This year I am thankful for a lot of things. Definitely the basics like the ability to pay rent month after month, that I’m not lactose intolerant, and I am healthy.

And on a more personal level – I’m thankful for restoration both emotionally and physically. I’m thankful for making new friends and for the same oldies but goodies from years past. I’m thankful for forgiveness in both giving and receiving. I’m thankful for so many moments spent laughing until my cheeks hurt and my abs ache. I’m thankful for good movies that have made me cry and great television shows that keep me hooked week after week. I’m thankful for the ability to speak, to be heard, to listen and to hear.

In 365 days I’ve seen my share of heartache and joys, being broken and fulfilled, and every second, I’ve loved them all.

On December 31, 2013 – There were dreams of going to another party, but one of those “this-year-will-be-different” parties, the kind at a friend’s house with fun friends and good food. But I decided to forego all of that. Instead, I’m putting down $10.50 to go see a movie with one of my favorite people. We’ll prop up our feet and laugh at the big screen as we sip hot cider from our mason jars. It is the perfect sendoff to this great year and there’s no other place or party I would rather be.

So long dear Year 2013. You have been good to me.

Happy New Year. Here’s to many, many more.

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Waiting on the World to Change – Part Two

It’s been almost two months since my last blog post. I’ve spent a good time polling people on how to tackle part two, what to say, where do they think I should go from here…Then, last night someone tried to break into my house while I was there and that’s when I realized – the world is never going to change.

wc1So it seems that I’ve been asking the wrong questions and looking for impossible solutions. It seems in fact that we’re destined to live among heaviness and pain and disappointment and hate. This is no waiting game because the truth is, this world isn’t going to miraculously shift into Pine Tree, Vermont in the next scene (that was for you, Kelli). No. The world is never going to change.

Last December everything sucked. I was having health problems I didn’t know how to deal with, I was irritable, lonely and miserable and the sad truth was I didn’t see 2013 looking any better. Somewhere between the early months, something shifted within me and I realized that if I wanted different circumstances, I would need to make a conscious effort to change. To change my lifestyle. To change my relationships. To change my attitude.

I embraced this year with a new motto – to say yes at every opportunity. I said yes to new friendships, yes to late dinners, I even said yes when strangers asked to sit at my table at Taproom. And something miraculous happened in the process. My life wasn’t the only thing that changed, but the world around me started to shift in an extraordinary way.

Of course there were still bad days and sad moments, but something changes when your perception is different. Life looks differently from a dreary and disheartened heart verses a hopeful and joyful one. Looking back at these 350-ish days of snapshots I’ve come to realize that exciting possibilities occur when you allow yourself to be a little more fearless and say ‘yes’ a lot more. 2013 has made many better stories in 12 months than an accumulation of years past. Like…

–       Getting to officiate a wedding
–       Asking a perfect stranger out on a date
–       Sitting at coffee shops and talking to people I don’t know
–       Have those people I didn’t know become some of my favorite friends ever
–       Running on the beach
–       Making the most epic wedding speech of your life
–       Spontaneously driving to several corn mazes and pumpkin patches in a weekend
–       Learning the value of speaking my mind, saying what hurts me and in the same way telling people what makes me happy

One of the biggest encouragements this year has come in the form of friendships both new and old. In a year where it felt like a terrible devastation of relationships, there has come with it an overflow of kindness, loyalty and companionship.

Oh how much can change in a year. This time last year I felt unbelievable isolated and frustrated. But on the same day a year later, life seemed drastically different. As I sat in my room in the dark last night, waiting for whoever was outside to leave, I felt a sense of peace as my phone flickered with warm advice from dear friends. And without asking, in my small moment of loneliness, I had friends rush over to keep me company, to check around the house and go take extra measures to make sure I was safe.

The world may not change. Hate will still exist in our days. Wars will disrupt our lives and turmoil will linger in many, many unfortunate moments. But life can change. Life can be breathtakingly beautiful if we let it. We don’t have to sit around and wait for the trigger of a new outcome, we can make a conscious effort to change ourselves and our perceptions.

One of my dear friends sent me this quote while I was in the process of writing Part One of this blog. It says, “The moment you feel like you have to prove your worth to someone is the moment to absolutely and utterly walk away.” There’s something liberating of walking away from the things that hurt you and bring you down. There’s also something quite powerful and exciting about running towards the things that make you happy.

And that’s the wonderful thing about change. It happens when we least expect it. When we make movements toward something great without planned expectations. We can choose to wake up and make decisions for the better. We can remind people that they are appreciated and loved. We can do good, even if it’s simply buying the person’s coffee behind us. We can choose to see White Christmases instead of winter storms. We can find every opportunity to be present and available and thoughtful.

We can simple say yes.