New Year Reflections

New Year Reflections

Pictured above: Elsie, running carefree through the park

I tried to write a post yesterday, on New Year’s Day, and found that I didn’t have the words for what I wanted to say. To be frank, I’ve never really liked New Year’s Eve or Day. The end of the Christmas season generally puts me in a gloomy state, and another year’s close feels so bittersweet. Plus, there’s the loom of returning to work the very next day after a relaxing and joyful break.

Yesterday, I went through my day with great nostalgia. I went to see Lady Bird (highly recommend) and teared up throughout the whole film (even though I am usually not a movie crier). I went to the grocery, I talked with loved ones, I sat alone, and no matter what I did I couldn’t shake the feeling of being a little lost and down, simply because of the close of one season of life and the opening of another.

I told my boyfriend, “I just feel like time goes so fast.” And he, who is always very light and genuinely optimistic, said, “Yeah. There’s nothing we can do but enjoy every day.”

It’s a sentiment that is clichéd, but he’s right. Although I’ve heard this time and again, hearing him say it, on New Year’s Day, resonated with me in a new way. I’ve been thinking about it throughout my day, as I sleepily returned to work this morning, and throughout the evening.

For me, it means being aware of my feelings and being okay with them. I might always feel a little sad on New Year’s Day. It’s not wrong, and it’s not something I should fight. It always fades.

I also think that this enjoyment of every day means increasing my awareness for what is positive and for which I am grateful, each day. It means expressing that in gratitude and love for others.

And so, my key New Year’s Resolution this year is to write down one positive thing that happens daily. I won’t just think about it – I’ll actually write it down. I already journal each night, so this should be an easy addition.

As opposed to setting lofty goals about eating healthy and working out, I want to be aware of when I do these things and recognize them with gratitude. For instance, instead of being hard on myself for not exercising one day, I’ll shift my focus to something encouraging that happened. And when I do, I’ll celebrate it.

Perhaps by this intentional observance of the every day, by next year, I’ll find some positivity on New Year’s Day, and even be able to enjoy the holiday with newfound optimism and a fresh perspective.

Love, Bee

P.S. This brings me back to a post I wrote a few months ago entitled The Beauty of Impermanence. If you enjoyed this post, check it out for a little related reading. : )

Holiday Traditions

Holiday Traditions

Pictured above: The Christmas cookies my mom and I have been making from scratch since I was little. The recipe was my great-grandmother’s and has been passed down through the generations.

One of the most special things to me about the holidays are the traditions. Baking the same family recipes, watching the same movies, going to see the same show, placing the same ornaments on the tree year after year.

In a world that can feel chaotic and unpredictable, the consistency of the holidays is welcome and calming. I know that each December, the first movie my family will watch is Meet Me in St. Louis. I know that my mom and I will bake sugar cookies followed by gingerbread while listening to our old Celtic Christmas cassette tapes (yes, we still have those). I know that on Christmas Eve, we will go to church, indulge in a festive dinner, and conclude with a viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life.

I love these staple activities at the end of each year. Having them brings comfort and joy. I never tire in doing the same things, but rather, relish their significance that is rooted in family, love, and tradition.

What traditions do you partake in? Which is your favorite? Tell me about it in the comments!

Love, Bee

During the Holidays, Disconnect

During the Holidays, Disconnect

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and Christmas is not far behind. During the holidays, there’s a lot to take pictures of – pretty decor, food, loved ones. By all means, take the pictures, but that’s it. Then put the phone down; disconnect.

Our instinct at this time of year is to share, to be more interconnected, but then we cannot be fully present. Now – tonight – is the time to start disengaging and grounding ourselves, or the holidays will just go by.

On Thanksgiving as well as Christmas Day, I always try to have my phone away for most of the day. Especially when family is over, during lunch/dinner, and when opening gifts, I ensure my phone is in another room.

Honestly, there are few moments in the year when I feel fully disconnected. I like to treat holidays and celebrations as special and sacred, not to be tarnished with the distraction of technology, which can make them feel as ordinary as any other day.

By detaching from our phones, we engage with reality and with our loved ones – and that’s what this time of year is really about anyway.

Love, Bee

The Beauty of Impermanence

The Beauty of Impermanence

The current state of my balcony

Each season, we seek and purchase the impermanent: tulips in spring, hydrangeas in summer, mums in fall, pansies in winter. We relish blooming trees, falling leaves, pumpkins on porches, holly draping windows. We know these things will vanish, that we will have to toss them aside. But we want them anyway.

Every December of my childhood, I watched my dad bring the Christmas tree into the living room through wide eyes, full of joy and wonder. I decorated the tree with such care, fully immersed in the experience, as though nothing else mattered and the holiday would never end.

It always did. My eyes would fill with tears as I watched my dad carry the tree, dry and starting to brown, to the curb, where it would lay, still and cold and somber.

But this process would repeat year after year, and I was a willing participant. I knew what would inevitably happen after the New Year. I celebrated with gusto even so, because it was transient, and I didn’t want to miss a thing.

To have something that lives and breathes in your home can feel refreshing and sweet – perhaps flowers from a loved one. It can be emotional and melancholy – a consolation arrangement. Or joyful and nostalgic, like a Christmas tree.

The potted plant, the tree, the bouquet – these bring real feelings into our homes. They never last, but they are welcome and enjoyable for a time.

The things in life that seem sweetest are often fleeting. And they are beautiful because of their impermanence.

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What beautiful, impermanent things have you welcomed into your home lately? Tell me about it in the comments.

Love, Bee