We took down our Christmas lights, and the end-of-the-holidays blues has found its way into our house.
This year, I feel like I'm doing better at being thankful for all that 2009 brought me, instead of focusing on all the rolled up Christmas lights on our porch table. I think I've grown in learning to look forward, instead of back.
I brought in the New Year in Times Square last year. I cheered, sang, laughed, froze and exchanged kisses with more than a few drunk French-canadians, Texans, Russians and grumpy New Yorkers till the wee hours of the morning when I passed out on a train headed back upstate.
My friend Jess and I got home just as the sun was rising.
This year, I'll be celebrating in Mendicino, CA, with my Dad's family. We've reserved a big cabin off the coast. Mom's been busy baking, making soup and pre-putting together casseroles for our mini reunion. Dad's been putting all his efforts into planning a talent show (his first - and hopefully his last - attempt), planning hikes and trips to lighthouses, and letting everyone know the importance of bringing my (often ill) grandfather happiness.
We're set to cram into Dad's truck this afternoon - casseroles, soups, brothers et al for our four hour drive.
It's a drive we took every year when I was a little girl. Last time we took it, mom was crying because we were moving across the country from her family - her ocean - her home. I cried too, but I don't think I understood what was happening like she did.
This year leaving for Mendicino feels like a return to everything I lived and loved before - but different, better - I understand it all so differently now. I've had my roots pulled up, and put them back down. I've thought I had it all figured, only to find I didn't really have much of anything nailed down. If I've learned anything this year, I've learned that I can't trust myself to know what the future holds.
I was supposed to spend 2009 in Long Beach. Instead, I spent it in Washington DC, Virginia, Deposit, NY, Sanford, NY and Newcastle, CA. My girlfriends and I were sure my semester would be filled with a certain grad-student/aspiring actor. Instead, I ended up introducing my high school boyfriend to Washington, DC. I was supposed to spend the summer interning in the middle of Washington and writing about global water issues. Instead, I spent it recovering from mono in my boyfriend's mother's house, writing remotely. I researched New York's bluestone industry, and visited quarries instead of corporate offices. I talked to old timers, and drug information out of my 6'5" quarry-working boyfriend, instead of holding meetings with advocacy groups or interviewing thinktanks. I was supposed to spend the fall in New York, close to him. Instead, I spent it re-discovering California, and finding that her arms were a softer place to land than I had ever remembered. I thought I would spend the fall interning at a local newspaper. Instead, I quit and started blogging.
I was supposed to, I thought, I wanted...
I wouldn't change a thing that went "wrong" this year, except that I would adapt faster, nod my head quicker and move faster with the winds of change. Every change was better than what I planned. Every heartache was a healing in disguise.
I thought that I would learn to stick with the things I had started. Instead, I learned that sometimes courage is walking away. I thought that I would learn to love someone entirely different from myself. Instead, I learned that some differences should divide, and do divide - and we have to let them. I thought I had already met my best friends, the boy of my dreams, and been to the cities I wanted to spend my life in. But then I met new people, and found different cities, and learned that I just have to stop calling the shots before they land.
I had no idea how things would turn out.
This year, my resolution is to hold back on making judgments, to wait and see where the pieces fall, and to smirk a little on the inside when I say that I've "got plans."
I don't, really.
Instead, I have principles, and I have ideas of the kind of character I would like to see develop in myself. Instead, I have goals for the kind of woman I want to be no matter what city I land in, or who shows up on my doorstep.
This year, I would like to be okay with the unknown. I'd like to settle for today instead of tomorrow. And I'd like to ride out situations that I wrote off before they were finished in years past.
I'd like to be pliable.
Here's to 2010, however, wherever and whomever it lands.