Everyday is the Beginning

Watercolor of train tracks leading into a pink sunset.

Every day is the beginning of your new year

I don't make resolutions on January 1st. If I want to change something about myself or improve an area of my life, now is always the best time. If I want to end something, now is the best time. The new me or new year can start anytime I'm ready.

I was thinking about past New Years's Eves earlier, and I realized I couldn't remember many of them. There just wasn't anything that stood out to remember, except for the one in this story. It was the New
Years Eve, about 6 months after I lost someone very dear to me, I was having problems moving on.

I walked outside and looked around. It was snowing, and the cold air whipped across my cheek. I could see Grandpa in the distance, working on the old fence. I put the thermos of coffee I'd just made under my arm and walked over.

"Grandpa, why didn't you tell me the fence needed to be fixed. I would've done it for you. It's not good for you to be out here exerting yourself in the cold like this."

He stopped and looked up at me. He smiled and put down the hammer. "I thought I could finish before you noticed. You looked like you needed some time by yourself." He walked over and put his hand on my shoulder.

I put my hand on his and looked at his cold, red face. "Why don't we go in so you can warm up. Grandma will have lunch ready in a half-hour or so."

Instead, he pointed over at a bench that sat by his now frozen vegetable garden. "Why don't we sit here for a minute. Are you going to offer me some of that... Cider? Hot chocolate?"

"Coffee. It's just coffee. I brought it out to warm you up." I opened the thermos and poured some in the cup that had covered the lid. It steamed up, and he grasped the cup in both hands. He took a sip and then set the cup on the bench arm.

We sat quietly for some moments, looking out at the mountains in the distance. They were snow-covered and always remind me of giant ice cream sundaes.

"Are you going to bring in the New Year with your friends later?" His voice sounded like a hopeful question mark. "You haven't been spending as much time with them as you used to. They're concerned about you. I bumped into Billy and Sarah the other day. They miss you."

"I talked to them earlier. I hate this, but they remind me of her. It's hard being around them right now. It's hard being around anyone."

"They're just trying to help. They miss her too."

I looked out across the valley and wished I could run away. "I wish I could jump on a train and just keep going until everything is far behind, you know Grandpa? Jesus, the last thing I feel like doing is cheering in a new year, watching everyone being excited about the future, and making resolutions and stuff. This last year turned out to be a nightmare, and now this next one will be too. Shit." I put my head in my hands and rubbed my temples.

Grandpa put his arm around me, "You take as much time as you need. There isn't any rush, and I promise it will get better. It doesn't go away, but it hurts less."

"Thanks, Grandpa. I believe you. I just feel like I'm being left behind. Everyone else is moving forward, and I'm going to miss the boat. I don't even know if I want to get on the boat anymore."

"I see," he said. "I understand now. Don't let yourself get caught up in the New Year holiday river. It's just the beginning of a new calendar year. That's all. You aren't going to miss anything... you won't be left behind."

He took another sip of coffee and continued, "Every day when you awaken, that is the beginning of your new year. It can be today, tomorrow or next month. It doesn't matter when. It can even be every day. A new start is always waiting for you, whenever you need and want it. And at that moment, your new year begins. A brand new 365 days just for you. Does that make sense?"

"I think it does. Yeah... it does. Thanks, Grandpa."

Just then, Grandma called us into lunch, and Grandpa waved at her. We stood up and started walking back to the house.

"Oh, Grandpa. The fence. I'll come out and finish it after lunch."

"The fence will be alright for a few days. Don't you think it would be nice to see your friends tonight? I know they would like that."

"Grandpa, are you trying to get the kid out of the house tonight? Do you and Grandma have a hot date?"

He laughed and shook his head. "No. Oh, I mean, yeah. If that's what it takes to get you to go have some fun, then yes. We have a date tonight."

"Okay, Grandpa. You win. Should I call before I come home, just in case?"

He was laughing as we went into the house. I don't think he ever told Grandma what we were laughing at. I hope not anyway. =]:)

© 2014 Peter Noah Thomas ~ All Rights Reserved

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