Why does it always feel so good to put away the remnants of Christmas? Every year, as I get out the ornaments, string the lights and bake the cookies, I think that this will be the year when I am sad to put it all away again. But two weeks later, without fail, I am filled with relief and happiness when it is all safely stashed back in the attic. What is that about?
Maybe it is the realization that the house looks bigger with the tree out of the living room? Or perhaps it is the fact that life will return to its familiar routines that gives the sense of relief? Or is it maybe the chance to start fresh that feels to good to so many of us?
I am not one to declare New Year’s Resolutions: I know myself too well to think that I will suddenly join the gym or give up chocolate or take up meditation. I refuse to set myself up for the kind of self-recrimination that would inevitably come with this type of resolution. Still, January first always feels like a “do over”. The mistakes and sorrows of the past year are behind me now. The old calendar is recycled, the new one is hanging, as clean and unmarked as new fallen snow. The year stretches out ahead, and gives the illusion of endless possibility.
Maybe, just maybe, this is the year when I will finish that young adult novel. Perhaps I will learn to make gourmet foods. It is possible that I will surprise myself and take up a healthier lifestyle and lose 30 pounds and start to hike again.
Or maybe none of those things will happen and this year will look very very much like the ones before it. I don’t know for sure! But it is the sense of possibility that I think makes today feel so good.
So I say goodbye to 2010, the year that my nest became empty, my heart became heavier and my Mommy days ended forever. I will pack up the last little glass ornament, store it safely away, and turn to greet the new year. It’s time to turn the page.