New Year’s Eve used to mean getting together with friends to toast in the next year together, complete with hats and horns.  Those days gave way to staying home with the kids and banging pots and pans while listening to the sounds of the celebrators in the distance.  And then it became a day to end the old and bring in the new, whatever it was bringing with it.

I’m trying to remember all my New Year’s Eves, especially the ones that came with promises of lives changed.  There was the year right after my father died, helping my mother get through it.

There was the year my husband had cancer.  We went to a Bowl Game with the strength he found somewhere and flew home while my mother was having quadruple bypass surgery.  That was a year that started off with us knowing there would be changes.

The millennium 2000 celebration was hard because I’d always pictured it coming in while I stood by my husband’s side.  Who knew he wouldn’t be there with me?

I don’t know.  New Years are always full of hope and promise.  This year I’m thinking of turning the calendar differently.  We’re all older, which goes without saying.  We’re celebrating the fact that we’re here, kind of like we celebrate our birthdays.

This year, I’m going to celebrate that it’s 2015 and not 1915 or 1815 or before.  This is a great time to be alive, a time when we have possibilities not even imagined earlier.  There are more chances for learning, for exploring, for creating than ever before.  If we want to change our lives, there are resources available.  If we are sick or injured, there are more medical options than at any time in man’s history.  If we want to play, there are more exciting places to do so.

I’m going to take this year to be grateful for all I’ve been able to see and do and all the wonderful people I have met.  I don’t know how this year will stack up with the others I’ve known, but it doesn’t matter.  It’s all a journey where some years are smooth, some are rough, and some are thankfully boring, but all are steps forward to being who we are.

My husband told me once that we always pray for strength.  I was taken with the surety in his voice when he said it, so I’ll follow his words.  We pray for the strength to face what the year brings us as we rejoice in the fact that we’re here to face the future.  May I see you here next year, facing the next year and then the next and then the next…

Happy New Year!