What is it about a new year that gets one all excited?
Fifteen years into this gig and you’d think I’d be out of “lessons” or reflections by way of the New Year, resolutions and the significance of what it all entails. Yet, somehow this New Year struck me a bit different.
Monday morning as I reflected in silence, I recognized that this is a difference which I may have come to a number of ways. The year of 2017 (as a whole) which preceded Monday was indeed epic and that was the goal.
On Sunday, January 1, 2017 I found myself at an all-time adult low. Circumstances which friends saw coming, yet I fell short of seeing came to a head on my 49th birthday, just one day before New Year’s Eve 2016. In short, the days which followed reminded me of the importance of unconditional love by both friends, as well as family. To be picked up and dusted off in your most vulnerable and weak moment, not once but several times is something one never forgets.
And then … We face a New Year.
Oh if it were just so simple as to wake up, dust off and not be affected by the choices and circumstances which came before the beginning of the New Year. That’s not real. What is real are the lessons and how we choose to forge forward as we get a chance to script the next chapter of our life’s novel.
For me it came by way of honoring life, this life, my life and all opportunity which has been presented to me. I decided to use the entire year to celebrate life. Friends quickly began deeming it my epic year, as even they were entertained by how life was unfolding in this new light. Rather than question or second guess opportunities I went for it.
I’m a single parent, so adventuring and “going for it” is not as simple as it might have been in my 20s. Fortunately, I not only have a supportive tribe, but supportive children who find it “normal” that their mom may take on running a marathon, escaping to another state for some girl time or taking on a second career. They also love adventure and travel, so living big included them as well. The memories which were made are simply priceless. The year behind us, so jam packed that last Sunday as we reflected as a family we were actually stunned a bit by all we had done.
Yet I’m a girl about lessons. Each year I live seems to bring one (at minimum) big lesson and 2017 was no different. While the goal was to blow up 2017 to celebrate the marking of my first half century on the planet, the lesson was the reward.
The evening of my birthday I sat at a dinner table surrounded by some of my most favorite people on the planet. Many of them the very people who picked me up and dusted me off just 364 days before. There was a (not so) new face as well and that belongs to a person who has restored my faith in a lot of things and patched my heart.
As we enjoyed some adult beverage and fun food, the dinner slowly simmered to a mild roast. Many of them sitting together and meeting for a first time, suddenly discovered why they are “my people.” Simply put, they humor me and support me, yet make no hesitation and keeping it real. Quickly the joke became, alas the end had come to my “epic birthday year.” I mean, after all, who does that?
Well, I did and these beautiful souls cheered me on, joined me and celebrated with me through every last step. It was joyous and memorable, but then came the lesson.
Life should be epic. It should not be restricted to a year of significance. Life is significant … period.
So as we go forward into 2018 that’s what I leave you with, live a life which is epic. Find something that speaks to you in such a way that fear can be released. Don’t settle for friendships or relationships that you feel you deserve. Flip that. Find and settle into the tribe that feels they deserve you just as much as you them. This is where you will find joy. This is the gold at the end of the rainbow and this is where epic is most nurtured.
So this is for my friends at the table. The very people who can razz me like no other. The people who sighed relief (in a not so joking manner) that the epic year was put to bed, only to be reminded by my boss and friend – “she still has a column to write.” This is for them, as well as the dreamers, adventurers and the fearful who are ready to live big. Go for it. I can promise you one thing, whether you chose to or not, in 360+ days the next chapter will begin. And so … begin again.
Happy New Year! Here’s to a year of adventure, love and laughter in epic proportions, God Bless.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.