A New Year

I’ve always loved New Year’s Eve.

I’m not talking about the drunken parties, or the short glittery dresses or the ball dropping on Time’s Square.

I like the idea of starting over – knowing that there is an entire year spread out in front of me full of possibilities.

When I was seven-years-old my parents decided I was old enough to stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve. I was thrilled. I felt mature and adult and like I was in for something special.

I spent all day cutting confetti from construction paper and handing out birthday hats to my parents (the only festive headwear I could find). My mom let me drink Martinelli’s sparkling cider from a plastic glass and eat as many ‘Chicken In A Biskit’ crackers as I wanted.

The night passed quickly in a blur of sugar and expectation and finally, around 11:45, I got into my pajamas, sat down on the couch, and waited.

I sat there, staring at the clock, wondering what it would be like to experience the turning of the year.

I sat there, staring at the clock, wondering what it would be like to experience the turning of the year. I was sure I would feel a significant shift. That our little living room would seem different – washed in the fresh light of a new year.

When midnight finally came around I was ready. I got my bowl of confetti, my knees bouncing with excitement, and started to count down the seconds. Three – two – one.

Happy New Year!

I leapt into the air and threw my homemade confetti as high as I could. My dad blew a noisemaker and my mom snapped a picture.

JessicaNewYearsEve

After the confetti fell, I felt exhilarated and refreshed. Maybe it was the five glasses of cider, but I was tingling. A thrill ran through me and the world felt open and exciting. I was standing at the beginning of a whole new year, full of hope and possibilities.

This year, I’ve been looking forward to recapturing that feeling.

Sometimes I feel that I spend a little too much time looking back – lost in thought about how maybe my life had been little bit better when I was a little bit younger. Even Jason has pointed this out to me in the recent months and as much as I hate to admit this in print, he’s right. I do find myself dwelling on the past more than I want to admit.

It used to be that New Years Eve was not the only time I felt excited about the future. But as the stress of being an adult has become more and more prominent in my life I have started to turn my head backwards – to long for a time when homemade confetti and a noisemaker could make me feel that the world was full of possibilities.

This turn of the year, I’m refocusing on the future.

This turn of the year, I’m refocusing on the future. I’m ready to feel excited about what lies ahead, not long for what’s behind me. I will cherish my past in a safe spot in my heart but keep my eyes turned toward tomorrow.

I keep that picture my mom took of my seven-year-old self by my desk as a reminder that I am capable of fearless joy for the future.

This year, I want to enter 2015 like that little girl. Eyes raised to the sky, confetti raining down, waiting for things to change with unfaltering joy.
This piece was originally written for the Fargo Forum.  You can find them (and me) here.

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