Someone said, “the way you spend New Year’s is the way you will spend the rest of the year.” So many expectations and grand plans and dreams go misguided and unattainable around this time of year. It’s a funny thing really. Since having kids I really haven’t made it up to midnight to pop open the champagne, kiss loved ones and sing. I’d rather get sleep and wake up feeling ready for the first day of a New Year. But, this year New Year’s was sweet and if I could continue to unravel the themes of my New Year’s Day all through the year I know I’d look back in a year and smile.
New Year’s Eve this year was spent in the mountains with my family and my sister’s family. We skied all day– mostly together. I took a couple of runs alone in solitude. It felt good to be alone on a mountaintop skiing down marking my own path. Occasionally I struck up conversation with the person sitting snug next to me on the lift. Our exchange of light conversation made me feel warmer riding up. There is a joy for me skiing all together as a family that makes all the nuisance of gear gathering and coordinating quiet down—and at the end of the day it’s always worth it. After skiing we spent the late afternoon hanging out in the living room at the condo. Kids played games and I found myself in a yin yoga practice working through tight and tense ankle and quad muscles.
The sky darkened early and the afternoon and evening was going to be a long one. With no tv and spotty wifi in the house we mixed and mingled, read and played Jenga. My sister cooked up homemade lasagne using tomatoes they had frozen from their summer garden. At dinner we sat together swapping funny stories about embarrassing moments—the time Daddy brushed his teeth with diaper cream and the time when mommy wore her yoga pants inside out. You know it’s a good story when it can continue to produce drools and tears.
After dinner my brother in law convinced us all to gear up and take a winter walk through the deep powdery snow in the woods. I have to admit I didn’t want to go outside again but felt pulled by the enthusiasm of our gang. I suited up and braved the chill. I am glad I did. We meandered though the trees, the sky lit up by a million stars and the instinctual suggestion of where to go next by the kids fearless’ footprints. We came upon an opening in the woods shaped like a swimming pool. We jumped in and swam in the snow—giggling from the spontaneous snow plunge and squealing from the cold snow melting down our backs and boots. As we walked home I heard my brother in law asking the kids questions about the constellations. Fireworks illuminated the ski village and diverted our attention toward celebration and the marking of another year gone by and a new one to begin.
Each footprint in the snow marked a day in the life of a year or a moment of breath in day.
New Year’s Eve captivated moments of beauty and bliss that are simple, attainable and unexpected. They had nothing to do with devices, weight loss, exercise plans and other resolutions of false hope and attachment. They had everything to do with nature, solitude, family, conversation, spontaneity, gardening, cooking, walking, curiosity, listening and awe. If there is any truth to that line, “the way you spend New Year’s is the way you spend the rest of your year” then I’m off to a good start.