I hear and see everyone talking about their plans for NYE 2016. I see blog posts and posts to social media about how people are going to bring in the new year with a bang! I am happy for them. However, unlike everyone around me, I had no interest in going out for the New Year. I was not without choices. I was invited to a few gatherings, but for a little over a month now I have had no interest in doing any of the usual, expected things people do.
Last year, I spent the New Year in San Francisco with my close friend. It was exciting, and I loved it. In fact, had I not of gone, I would not have come up with the idea to pursue my graduate degree at a school in San Francisco, which was also part of my reason for starting this blog. So perhaps, I would not have had a blog at all. Perhaps it was the Universe’s grand design.
That was last year.
This evening, I do not feel a compulsion to go out, be merry, or drink the night away. This year my heart is telling me to stay indoors. My only desire this year is to be safe at home, with a warm cup of tea, and to write. It is not exciting, I know. It does not sound like the most thrilling of ideas. But I am satisfied with this choice.
Because I am not simply sitting at home, I am going to be grateful.
I will allow myself to feel wholly grateful for this year – for 2015, something I have never really done before. Often, many of us complain about how the year in passing was not good enough. We complain that this did not happen or that. We lament those we may have loss over the past 12 months. We give one last grumble of the year over a regret from the summer. In short, we complain that the year leaving us was not nearly good enough, and look to the year ahead and promise ourselves it will be better.
And while, yes, 2015 could have been so much better in a lot of ways, I realized that I also have a lot that I am grateful for. These feelings of immense gratitude and appreciation have slowly grown within my heart for a while now, and I feel I must give them their due and acknowledge them. So, below I am sharing some of the things I am grateful to 2015 for giving me.
1. My friends – both old and new. I am grateful to the friends who have saw fit to keep me in their thoughts and who have allowed me to be a continued part of their lives. But I am also exceedingly grateful for all the new friends I have made this year. For the friendship that found me on the other side of the world in Paris. To the friendships that have persisted so long that they feel more like extensions of my family. For co-workers who have grown into bonds beyond the work place. Even now, a small knit group of us have somehow forged a tight bond, and it was more than I could have ever asked for or thought myself deserving. All of these connections I have created and maintained mean more to me than words will ever be able to truly express.
2. Paris, France – I am grateful to have visited this gorgeous and amazing city. It truly is the city of lights. I felt more happiness during those 8 days than I ever could have thought possible. It was my dream vacation, and the most gratifying part of it was that I did this for myself, entirely under my own power.
3. Finding my niche at my job – I am sure many people know what it is like starting a new job, and that period when you try to find your niche in the grand scheme of things. Its hard to carve out a place for yourself when a status quo has already been established. But I did, and I am happy. I have experienced a grand sense of satisfaction with work the past 6 months or so. I have found my place, I am confident in my abilities, and I have colleagues that I enjoy. Not many can say this about their occupations.
4. Finally, I am thankful for getting to know myself. This year I have traveled more than I have ever before – and all on my own. I have taken chances that I never thought I would. I have become more sincere in my writing, more grounded in my convictions, and more open to sharing those ideas with or without judgment. I have defended my own worth and have advocated for it. I have been unafraid with removing those who would not treat me with the decency and respect that I am willing to give. In short, I am have come to terms with my own value.
There is so much more I could have listed, but I will spare you the lengthy details. However, I want to make it clear that I am not only grateful for the big things, but for the little things as well. The roof over my head, my family – even if they drive me crazy, for my bedroom that is the outer expression of me, even for my little Christmas tree that is twinkling brightly as I write this – I named him Clarence.
One final thought, I am grateful for finally learning how to be my own best friend and love. I will be the first to admit that I live with a darkness within me, and I have shared this before. Living with darkness can be a challenge, because it is overwhelming. It is all encompassing. There are days when it feels like the darkness is all that exists within me. Those days are the hardest, I struggle with them. And yet, I am slowly learning how to not let the darkness be all there is to me. I recognize when the cycle starts anew, and I am proactive at combating it. I take myself out for a nice lunch, I window shop, or let myself get lost in a favorite book while at the park. I focus my energy on being kinder towards my friends when I start to feel lonely. I try not to let my lack of significant other define me. Instead of feeling sad for myself, I decide to be happier for those who have found their other half, and I let that be my hope. I allow myself to be human and to lament, and cry, and feel melancholy and I allow myself to be giddy and joyful. I am steadily learning to be more gentle with myself. I remind myself that I am trying, and that, sometimes, that is enough.
So, I am ending 2015 not embittered or regretful, but grateful. I leave 2015 saying thank you for all that you have given me, and I am now fully prepared to accept 2016. Let’s hope it will see fit to be even more generous.
Until we me again my darlings.
May we all be sweetly inspired.
And HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Unless otherwise noted, all images were taken by A. Reneé for Darling Afflatus, 2015. Please do not use without permission.