And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.
– Rainer Maria Rilke, Czech poet considered one of the German language’s greatest 20th century poets
It’s the first Sunday afternoon of the New Year. My cousin Janet and her husband Tim left for home earlier in the day, having wrapped up an extended New Year’s celebration with our family. I always feel bereft when guests leave, though a mountain of towels and sheets need to be washed and cleaning the house appeals to my sense of orderliness. We are holding off taking down the decorations until next weekend when we have more time. I’m glad for the extra week because business travel made me miss out on 10 days of enjoying being surrounded by the spirit of Christmas. Now that all is calm, I have a quiet afternoon for reflection before Monday roars its ugly head and swallows me whole.
This was the second year in a row that Janet and Tim came up to ring in the New Year with us. We celebrated New Year’s Eve with another tradition, the birthday and NYE party of our friend Raissa, with her family and friends. We stayed longer than we did the previous year, so when we got up in the morning we took our time getting to our destination. Last year we saw a lot of wildlife at Point Reyes. While we traveled to Point Reyes again this year, we ended up at Tomales Bay, walking along Heart’s Desire Beach and Indian Beach, checking out the sea anemones, crabs, and clams. As long as I’ve lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, this is the first time I’ve been to these beaches. We also identified birds we encountered, thanks to Tim’s bird book.
It’s important to me that we spend New Year’s Day paying homage to Nature. It’s a way of making a promise that we’ll honor Mother Earth today and every day of this year and every year. It’s also honoring our family tradition, which we’ve expanded to include Janet and Tim. David made our traditional pot roast for dinner (albeit a day later because we got home so late), and Janet and Tim brought up a turkey for our final dinner of the New Year weekend, which David supplemented with his famous mashed potatoes and mushrooms and beans vegetable dish. We said grace before each dinner, with everyone getting a turn. The common theme: We are grateful for spending time with family and friends, having good health, having food on our table, and a roof over our head.
Last year went by so quickly, and I’ve no doubt this year will be the same. Every year I vow to live more fully in the present. I’ll admit that I was not successful every time. Maybe not even half the time. But I celebrate the other 50 percent of the time. Life is fleeting. Time is fleeting. We can’t always do what we want when we want or be free of life’s shackles or barriers. But growing older has taught me a few things. Growing older has made me be more mindful, to find those gems, and hold them a bit longer in our hands. So have a grand entrance and make 2015 a year that you will look back on in December and say, “I lived a full life.”