December 31, 2009

It's that time.

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.


(photo mine).


Anonymous said...

Happy New Year my sweet friend! I love you lots and can't wait to see how God uses you for His glory in the years to come. Thankful for you and our friendship..."you know you want me!" GDawg

Anonymous said...

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 1:6

I am looking forward to seeing what the Lord does in your life this year. You go girl...for God's glory! Love, Mrs. G

Carsen said...

best new years post! can i re-post this?

Shanley Knox said...

Carsen - of course!