My whole life, I have felt as if the days before the new year, especially New Year’s Eve itself, were this long stretch of time-out-of-time. And this day the longest one, because at its close, something new happens. In a split second, one day it’s the last of what has been, and with the stroke of midnight, a whole new year is born.
Maybe that’s weird, but even this morning I feel it. As if tomorrow is forever away, and as if anything can happen in the next 15 hours.
In 15 hours I could drive to New York City. Or fly to Galway. Or repaint a room in my house. Or get to my college roommate’s house north of Atlanta in time for a glass of wine before dinner. Or binge the whole Defenders limited series on Netflix.
The truth is that it will be filled with normalcy. Laundry and household stuff this morning. Some shopping this afternoon. Dinner and a movie later. And eventually I’ll sleep and when I wake tomorrow morning…something new.
At least, the possibility of it.
And this is really true of any day–any moment. If you have not already learned that life can change–in ways both crushing and exhilarating–in the actual blink of an eye, well…one day you will. It’s in these moments that we learn what we’re really made of, of course, and where we learn the reality that nothing is guaranteed in this life and that, trite as Hallmark movies make the sentiment seem, every second really is precious and most sacred.
Just yesterday I said something I wish I had said differently–or not at all–to someone I love. I woke up at 5am thinking about it…and already determined to make it right today. Because this is what it is to be human. We mess up. We make mistakes tiny and huge. And then, if we’re lucky, we get to try again. We get to strive for something new.
This is what I know: that beautiful possibility exists. That there is always a way forward. That nothing is written in stone, except the Love that sustains us and holds us close always. That every day brings with it the opportunity to fall in love or get your heart broken. That our lives are over in a matter of seconds when compared to the age of the universe and yet…yet…we are capable of so much world-changing goodness in those seconds.
It isn’t that you have to be a hero, or rise to the name recognition of Ghandi or Pele or Oprah. It’s just about knowing that in us is more strength and resilience and ability than most of us ever realize, and sometimes the best use all that can be put to is simply living. Through the normalcy of laundry and dinner prep and paying bills to the golden moments of family laughter and hands held and the perfect glimpses of grace we sometimes get when we’re with the ones who know and love us best.
I started writing because I believe stories matter. Mine. Yours. Everyone’s. And I believe our stories help us understand the world and our place in it. Claim yours as the old year fades away and a new year is ushered in. As Brene Brown says (paraphrased), it is the bravest thing we do–owning our story.
Look, I have no idea what’s on the horizon for you this new year, what this next chapter of your story holds. But I trust in the goodness of this world God has made, and so even if there is also heartache and pain and anger, I trust something new and surprising and good–really, really good–will come your way.
But even more, I hope you know how loved you are. How much you are capable of. How much you matter. How much less a world we would be without you.
Happy New Year, y’all. It’s a really, really jacked up time to be alive most days. But also beautiful and new things happen. And I, for one, don’t want to miss those.