A fresh start


New years don’t erase problems. The divorce isn’t rescinded, the bank account suddenly full, broken promises mended, the sick healthy. All the things that made our hearts heavy on December 31 are still present January 1, and yet there is something giddy in the flipping of the calendar. Even if for a day, we all have hope that this year could bring us to happy.

We are just two days into 2017 and I am bursting with hope looking at the 12 months ahead.

The year started in a cabin in northern Wisconsin with a group of people that I know I can count on. We spent our days hiking through the woods, gawking at the towering pine trees and red woods glazed in day-old snow. At night, we stuffed our bellies while enjoying each other’s company. Alcohol cravings did come, but they were never the focus of my attention (It helped that the majority of our group didn’t drink). Instead, my heart felt so calm and full I nearly cried. It was the perfect end to the holidays and the most ideal start to the new year.

Today E and I ran errands and cleaned our home. We worked for hours undoing the holiday season and removing dust and dirt left in 2016. No drunk feels as good as knowing that my sheets are clean and my refrigerator is full.

Later on I went for a run on the Lake Shore Path, the longest I’d ran in months. Despite being out of shape, my legs were like a dog let loose in a park – they wanted to go much faster than the rest of me could keep up. The run wasn’t without pain, but it brought upon a deserving tiredness, one in which you want to wrap around your shoulders and take a nap.

The last few days have felt like a fresh start. Nothing has changed in my foundation – I still eat sugar and worry about not being a good friend – but I have more faith in those small moments. Mopping the floor, watching the lake crash into the beach, eating a friend’s freshly made scrambled eggs. These are not the resolutions touted in marketing ads and Pinterest boards, but they’ve all calmed my heart. They remind me that my happiness can’t be found in book deals, scripted social media posts, marathons ran at sub-4 pace. Joy, real joy, is found when you start believing that, although is life is not perfect and shame and guilt will always be snickering in the corner, all you have is all you need. I won’t tell you that I am there now, but I feel myself moving closer to that point. I may not reach it this year, but each day presents a new opportunity to move a bit closer.

While I have goals for 2017, my greatest hope is that each day I try. I can try and accomplish a lot, or try and accomplish a little. Trying may come easy some days, and it may be brutal others. It doesn’t matter if I accomplish the goals I set, I want to end 2017 knowing I seized this fresh start and gave it my all.


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