Stroke of Midnight

champagneWe sat in the faint glow of the television, our little black dresses and freshly pressed suits swathed in blue. Clutching full champagne flutes between our fingertips, the bubbly mixture making us laugh, the air full of static electricity, an energy that could not be confined by the gold streamers covering every inch of the ceiling. Everyone basked in those final moments as the countdown began, jumping up to clang glasses in exclamation. Well wishes were shared as the glittering ball dropped from its high perch in Times Square, and all around the room, people were kissing, hugging, laughing, shouting. The most carefree we’d be all year.

You asked me then what my resolution was. I gulped down a long swig of champagne to avoid the question. In my silence, you prattled on about aspirations and desires, techniques and tactics, about how you would label the year ahead with a word, using that word to define you and your actions until we met again for this particular celebration. You asked me what my word would be.

But I didn’t want words.

That stroke of midnight feels like an initiation. It’s the finish line for the idea that you have survived another 365 days of this thing called life, and it fills us with possibility and perseverance. And yet, we immediately make amends to alter the blank canvas we’re presented with, to fill it up with things that will make us better. Goals and plans and lists are made, and too often than not, we’re left with disappointment in our eyes when we look in the mirror the next year.

I didn’t want plans. I didn’t want labels. I didn’t want to shove my whole year into a very specific box before it had really even begun. I wanted more laughter. More sunrises. More cups of coffee and conversations with friends. More time. To be more of myself. And maybe, just maybe, to have a little more of you.

Perhaps the simple solution was that I just wanted more.

I wished that I could have captured your smile right then and placed it in a jar, a souvenir of sparkling, pearly teeth to carry with me, to gaze at and to be reminded of that infectious feeling of hope that comes solely from the ticking of a clock. I wished I could open up that jar on the next New Year’s Eve and show you what you had been hoping for, that you had indeed succeeded, that what you wanted so badly was inside of you all along. I wanted to prove to you that you didn’t need to be anything but who you already were, that it’s okay to just be unapologetically yourself.

Because there really isn’t any specific word to define a life well-lived.

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