I’m a sucker for a clean slate.
I get a little thrill when I get to plunge my knife into the creamy peanut butter before anyone else (stop laughing). I love being the first person to dive into a glassy-flat swimming pool. I channel Kathleen Kelly and get all excited about newly sharpened pencils and school supplies every fall. And a new year? The Ultimate in Clean Slatedness!
I also read a lot of magazines and blogs, and this time every year, most of them have similar promises — “How to Live Your Best Year Ever!”. And then they’re full of advice on how to lose weight or raise creative children or organize your entire house or save money or get the career you want and — ultimately — have Your Best Year Ever.
It won’t be, though.
One year, I got married. That was a pretty great year. During four other years since, we had children, which was also pretty great. I learned to drive one year, and when I think of all the crazy adventures that led to — from being single and tooling around California in my college clunker, to the insane posse of six we now ferry all about the country — well, that was a pretty pivotal year, too.
And what of the in-between years? We’ve welcomed new people to love into our family, and mourned people we’ve lost, all in the same year. Even the mourning isn’t all bad, because these are people we loved, and still love, and they loved us and left imprints in our lives that will remain long after they’re gone and isn’t that pretty great of itself?
This year is going to be a good one. There will be epic highs (we’re going on a trip with our family in a few months that I wouldn’t have dreamed of last year.) There will be little highs — tiny moments in a day that just hit you and remind you that it’s good to be alive and with your people in this beautiful world.
But I’m pretty sure there will also be awful days, which I’m glad I don’t know about yet. There will be days when we rock this parenting thing and take the kids out to explore art in 20 degree weather and have spirited discussions about the Giant Broom and Dustpan and what it all means
…and there will be days when they watch too much Phineas and Ferb and I sit in my bathrobe until noon and worry later that I’m ruining them all with too much screen time. There will be days when I will go to bed having failed someone — probably one of the kids and the thought of that kills me but there it is.
As I get older, I’m seeing things as less absolute — no one year is The Best Year Ever, but most years are Pretty Great. And the reassuring thing is that no one year is The Worst Year Ever, either — even the dark ones have light and beauty and growth.
Besides, if this is going to be my Best Year Ever, what in the world am I going to do next year? I’d like to think I haven’t peaked just yet.
So — cheers to you and cheers to us and cheers to a crazy mix of good and bad in the year ahead!