Happy new year, everyone, and welcome to 2014.
When I was a kid, the idea of years in the 2000s was something out of a sci-fi movie. We were kids of the late 20th century and the farthest ahead into the future we could imagine was 1999, the year when we all thought the world would implode and Prince would be singing along with the confusion.
And now here we are, smack in the middle of the 21st century and life is ticking by as usual. Nothing different except everything is different.
I used to love New Year’s Eve – back when I thought I would live forever and so would everyone around me. It was a destination, NYE, a place to go, to celebrate, to be with the right people at the right moments and be incredibly festive and optimistic and exhilarated.
Last night, I was in bed with my kids and my husband, watching a clever movie (Hotel Transylvania: watch the trailer here). I dozed off way before midnight. Two of my kids were asleep long before the ball dropped and the middle-schooler made a point of staying up to pounce into our bed with 10 minutes to go.
Frankly, it was a perfect way to ring in a new year. Because a new year is just another day. And with every ending (2013) comes a fresh start (2014) full of possibility and a blank beautiful canvas. I hope we all realize that we hold the paintbrush, we control the color scheme.
For me, 2013 was a year of growth. My company grew by leaps and bounds, my PR talents grew in heavy measure, my 8th book was published (and, I think it’s my best one yet) and I began to see life as a series of moments of perfection, lingering in the stillness and the wonder longer than ever before.
It was the year I said goodbye to my grandmother (though strangely, she’s with me more now than she ever was while alive). It was the year I sold the house where two of my children were born. And in the dawning of this new year, we will move to a new house, to a clean slate, a fresh start, a new neighborhood full of possibility and friendship and exploration.
As Jews, we celebrate two new years: Rosh Hashanah in the early fall and the Gregorian calendar right now. I have to be honest – a new year isn’t the only time to resolve to do better, live better, live fuller – every single day we get a new chance at beginning, at starting over, at seeing things a new way.
Do you see that? Because if you don’t, I’d recommend making that your new year resolution: to see the opportunities in each dawn, to realize that every moment is a gift and a wonder and a chance for greatness.
I also realized in 2013 that my dharma, my path, isn’t necessarily public relations – it’s bridge-building, among communities and faiths and people. That clued me in to the very truth of life, that all is evolution, that we never stay where we are right now.
I spent the last four days with my family and my brother’s family in Wisconsin, sledding and snowshoeing and waterpark-ing and eating at a lot of buffets. (Why do we so love the buffet? The idea of possibility, of no limits, of trying new things?)
We piled onto beds with cousins to watch movies. We shopped at outlet malls on the way there and the way back. The kids logged way too many hours on the iPads. And we hugged a lot. A lot.
Life is a sequence of moments and realizations. That’s all it is. Like those pointillist paintings I learned about in art history: tons of little dots make up a breathtaking scene.
What if we approached the new year from that perspective? Every moment builds on the one before and the one to come, amounting at some point that we really can’t see nor focus on into a large wonderful painting full of rich color and dynamism?
Just a thought. Happy new year.