Happy New Year from One Minnesota Writer
This little space between Christmas and New Year’s Day always feels a little awkward to me, as if one holiday percolates into another without time to digest either one. By the time it’s at the midpoint between the two, I feel a great urge to be quiet, hunker down and think. Bloat from cookies and other rich holiday foods makes the thinking a little slow.
So, in that slow, quiet mood I am thinking about this past year’s lessons, gifts, and bumps. Not enough to get bogged down in them because being here now is important, but enough to figure out what might be good pieces to carry forward.
And so here is what I’m grateful for from 2015:
Family and friends, of course. This will always be at the top. My kids, my partner, people with whom I share conversations and meals and celebrations and difficulties, people with whom I trade favors and gifts and from whom I learn to be a better person.
Being able to go outside every day. This is what having dogs has done for me; they need to be outside no matter what the weather and now I can’t imagine a morning where I don’t step outside, too. Or an evening, like last night when, thanks to those dogs, Mick and I both got to hear owls hooting in the distance. Yesterday morning we saw the moonset, heard and saw flocks of crows moving to a new place, felt the crunch of icy snow beneath our feet. That connection keeps us grounded in a way we would not have understood as well without this daily practice of walking outside.
So I guess I should also be grateful for the dogs.
Really talented colleagues (who also happen to be friends, so look back at #1). Because of talented colleagues, I’ve been part of an amazing poetry journal that is bringing in submissions that stun me from generous poets who have long publications lists. Because of talented colleagues, I’ve had my own work appear in beautiful journals alongside poets that have much to offer. And because of talented colleagues I got to be part of a flash fiction journal that, albeit short-lived, taught me much.
The off switch on the television remote. Need I say more?
A car that starts no matter what the weather.
The realization that I don’t need as much as I used to assume I did.
And what do I want from 2016? To hang on to this gratitude, this practice of being in the world in a way that is less frantic, kinder, more thoughtful. To not be rattled when things don’t go quite right. To be tougher than those who would rather do what goes completely against principles and fairness. And to not worry if someone doesn’t agree with me. They don’t have to.
One final thing. I want to remember to laugh at myself. They say laughter is the best medicine for good reason.
Happy 2016, everyone.