For years now, as long as I can remember, I’ve rung in the new year with a pen in hand. Not at midnight. At midnight I’m wielding the requisite fondue stick or glass of fake champagne. The real shift comes later, when I’m sitting at my parents kitchen table scribbling in a notebook with the lights off or huddled up on an air mattress in tapping notes into my phone in a cabin with my in-laws or sprawled out on the couch with my laptop listening to Long December while my own little family snoozes around me. Words usher in the new year. Words escort the old one out. I usually end up with a long list of things I want to do better, or at least differently, and this year’s no different.
I want to speak up more at work. I want to speak more carefully at home. I want to serve unthinkingly and love unceasingly.
It’s a cliche to write self-consciously about cliches. I saw that quote you pinned about reaching for the stars and dancing like nobody’s watching. I know women my age are caged birds breaking free. I like metaphors with a little more weight. This year I will drop an anchor. I will tie myself off. I will nurture the tender, stretching roots I’ve set down in this city, in this job that I’ve already worked longer than any other, even though it feels like I just started. I will revive the sprawling, stretched-too-thin system that’s sapping every last bit of what Mormonism has to offer to nourish my flourishing faith. I will hack off the wild branches until all the fruit is good. I will sit still with my family.
It’s coming down hard in Chicago tonight and my neighborhood is new with snow, except for the trail of footprints Robert and I left outside the front door when we dashed with bare feet to the tree across the street and back again because what else are you going to do for kicks at 12:00 a.m. when you are new parents and accidentally threw out all the sparklers left over from your wedding because they stink like sulfur? Robert convinced me to take my shoes off and I hated every second of it until I got back inside. Here’s to more of that in 2014.