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New Year’s Reflections

We had an amazing New Year’s. For years I’ve sought out the perfect party, perfect company, and perfect dress in hopes of having the perfect night. Yet year after year New Year’s is always a bust. Got too drunk, didn’t get drunk enough, crowd was lousy, or the fancy bar we paid so much to party at ended up being a lot of trouble for very little fun. But for once, this year, we got it right.

Our New Year’s party landed us at my parent’s lake house with 15 of our closest friends. We cooked a huge meal, drank copious amounts of champagne and at the stroke of midnight I got to kiss my Prince Charming and toast a group of best friends I never thought I would have.

As I’m sure is obvious on this blog, big weekends together with our friends are a favorite pastime of ours. And this weekend held so much meaning even beyond the countdown till a shiny ball dropped. Husband leaves in a week, so this particular weekend welcomed a new year full of endless changes, said goodbye to a year where so many things perfectly aligned, brought hope of new beginnings and experiences, and celebrated Husband’s last hurrah with the gang.

Saturday morning, before my eyes opened the first thought in my head was, “Is it really already Saturday?!” I’m trying so hard not to let each passing milestone leave me silently hanging on to it for dear life because I know it may be the last, but I kind of can’t help myself. I sat on the couch listening to the morning after chatter and felt pangs of sadness wave over me as I took in what could be the last Sunday morning we will have with our friends in a very long time. As we cleaned up the house, and turned off each light one by one, I tried to remember every memory and take a mental picture of every doorknob. Tucking parts of my life away in the vault of my heart to forever be kept safe.

Driving by the lake as we made our way home this morning I looked out over the pristine water and a horizon boasting various shades of blue, and I was taken back to my childhood and learning to ski, then to our family cookouts at the campground, to the rope swing and the time I landed the wrong way and had the breath knocked out of me, and to these past few summers where the lake house became a sanctuary for our family. Like everything in my life to this point the lake has always been a constant. A place I may not make it to every weekend like I hoped to, but would always be there to welcome me when I was able to make the short drive. It’s so odd to look at it now and not know when I will be back, or how different things may be by the time I drive that road again.

I realized this afternoon that this move is THE most significant change I will have ever experienced in my life. I keep feeling bad for feeling so sad and nostalgic, but I know now that I have to allow myself to experience those emotions. We are in a sense closing out a big chapter in our lives and like every end to a good book there is a period of mourning. With each pang and every memory locked away in my heart, I’m also letting go. Making room for what’s to come and preparing myself for it.

I went away to college but if I’m real with myself, North Carolina has always been my home, my family and friends have never been more than a few hours drive, and I’ve always been very familiar with the places I have called home. I would like to think of myself as a more worldly person but really I’ve lived in one big safety net. I dreamed about cutting through and exploring this big world when I was younger, and now that that opportunity is here I see just how scary and awesome it can be.

Last New Year’s I knew 2011 would be a year of big events for us. I hoped for a career change, for a job for Husband, and to be able to come back home for a little while. And it all happened. I wrote an extensive list of attainable resolutions and for once worked pretty steadfastly on them.  I keep searching my heart for what I hope for 2012, but I just can’t put my finger on anything. I don’t have a single resolution in mind, or even ideas that I could put down on paper. So I’ve deemed 2012 as the year of just letting it (everything) happen. Because it’s going to anyway. I think I’ve spent my whole life trying to tailor circumstances and events to fit my mistaken desires and quite frankly it’s exhausting. So I’m quitting.

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