I guess New Years is just not my holiday. It doesn't really excite me.
Throughout the year, I exude countless amounts of energy and skip an immeasurable amount of sleep to ensure that I live each day like it is my last, dance like no one is looking, and execute every other cliche that guarantees me a happy and fulfilled life. Throughout the year, I watch the clock turn from 11:59 to 12:00 and there is no champagne toast, no ball drop, and no resolution writing.
There is just me and my laptop.
Or me and my book.
Or me and my thoughts...
Meanwhile, every single year, the masses sit and wait until the clock strikes midnight and the calendar flips to January, to decide they need to change. Seriously, I just don't get it.
I'm no negative Nelly so forgive the morbid undertone here, but God forbid something happens to you on December 31 at 11:59pm. You leave this world only to add another brick to the road of good intentions that everyone talks about. All because you were waiting. And you, still bruised from falling off the proverbial wagon, do not ever get a chance to be the best version of yourself.
The only one happy about that ending is the wagon.
However, for the sake of this blog post and remaining culturally relevant, I will indulge.
I did a lot of good things in 2008. I started a blog, improved my writing, and gained some awesome friendships. I rocked a fierce haircut, read some amazing books, and learned life changing lessons from the most unexpected people. I gained access to a network typically reserved for elite members of society. My brother and I began building the relationship we should've had years ago. My parents continued to be incredibly inspirational. I was promoted into a new position, earned two raises and a bonus despite a looming recession. And I spearheaded the internship program that I was a part of just 2 years prior.
I'm so proud of myself.
Unfortunately, the buck doesn't stop there. I spent weeks in turmoil after a test from a routine visit to the doctor came back abnormal. I was poked and prodded and became familiar with hospital routes, you know, "just in case". I suffered a series of panic attacks and bouts of exhaustion; one of which resulted in 7 stitches in my chin when I fainted and fell head first on a slab of concrete. I've been rejected from dream jobs. I have longed to be home. I just found out my best friend is moving to another continent. I've fallen in and out of love both with myself and with others. I've probably come the closest to clinical depression that I hope to ever experience.
That may sound terrible, but I've learned to be honest even when it doesn't feel good. And in the spirit of being honest; when I look back at 2008, I can either panic, or, I can just type...
When it comes down to it, we've all been hurt and we've all been disappointed. Some have had it harder than others. My father, for example, has lived a hell of a life. He has experienced a kind of pain and loss that many will never know. It is the kind of pain that transcends hurt feelings and momentary embarrassments.
It is the kind of pain that is there January 1st, December 31st and every day in between. It will be there in '09, just like it was in '79 and '89. It's a part of his life just like all the other parts of his life.
But when you meet him, you don't pity him. You're not weirded out by his story. I'm truly fascinated with people like him. Ironically, it was a person like him who helped me understand the notion behind New Years.
I was reading the UK version of Glamour and came across an article about Courtney Love. Yep, THE Courtney Love. In the article she talks about everything like plastic surgery, drug addiction, and anger. She says she should be dead. I immediately recognize her pain as it is the same kind of pain that raised me. It quickly becomes an intriguing read.
She makes a point at the beginning of the interview to let the journalist know that nothing is off limits. I'm amazed as Courtney welcomes this stranger to delve into whatever aspect of her life that will create a great story. So naturally, the reporter goes there.
She asks Courtney about the suicide-death of her husband, Kurt Cobain. The journalist wants to know how she's coping, and how her daughter deals with the untimely death of her father coupled with a difficult childhood. Tears begin to stream down her face, and as she admits that she never properly grieved, Love whispers:
"People think it gets easier. It doesn't. It just gets further away."
And when put like that, I suppose I can understand the symbolism behind the holiday.
I'd be lying to you if I said it didn't feel good to give 2008 an introspective kiss goodbye. I welcome 2009 with open arms knowing it will probably not be much easier in the true sense of the word. I welcome it with the understanding that life is full of ups and downs that do not operate on a calendar, even though that may be the easiest way to digest it. I welcome it with the expectation that January 1 does not change me; only me changes me.
But most of all, I welcome it prepared. I owe that to 2008.