Post Author: Sarah Ross
I didn’t exactly party hard this New Year’s Eve. Recovering from a cold, I stayed in with my dog, wore pajamas, watched the deleted scenes on the Parks and Recreation DVDs I got for Christmas, and toasted 2018 with a shot of cough syrup. Being under the weather takes the pressure out of New Year’s Eve. It tends to be such a couple-focused holiday—after all, you have to find someone to kiss at midnight, right? Judging by the number of engagements popping up in my facebook feed on January 1, the romance of NYE is not just in the movies.
It’s never quite worked out that way for me, though. For most of my adult life, I’ve spent New Year’s Eve alone or with friends, or occasionally as an awkward third or fifth wheel. Some of my favorites were the years when it was just one or two friends hanging out and consuming pizza rolls and champagne—the “New Year’s Eve of champions,” as we call it. The champagne really classes up the pizza rolls, I’m telling you.
There’s also the New Year’s pressure to make resolutions. “New Year, New You!” the ads proclaim as they roll over from the indulgent feasting and gift-giving of Christmas to the diets, exercise equipment, organizational systems, day planners, and self-help books that we all need to be better people this year than we were last year. The dating apps tell me that this could be the year I find true love, especially if I enroll in their premium plan. Of course, they said that last year, and the year before, and the year before that.
All this is premised on the idea that there is something wrong with who and what I am right now. The not-so-subtle underlying message of all the ads is that if I had changed my body with the right exercise regimen and changed my personality with the self-help books, then I could have found true love. Or the “new me” could have, I suppose.
I spent years of my life waiting for Mr. Right to come along and complete my life. I’d get married, find a great house, have kids, and build the life I always wanted. But he hasn’t yet appeared. Maybe he still will. Maybe not. A few years ago, I made the decision to stop waiting. My life isn’t going to begin when some magical person enters it. My life already is, and it’s up to me to make something of it.
So I started naming my goals and pursuing them. Great house? I scrimped and saved my money until I could make a down payment, and then I bought a house I love. Kids? This month I’ll finish the process to become licensed as a foster parent. My spare room, once full of boxes, has been transformed into a sweet little nursery. This may not be the year I find true love on a dating app, but it will be the year I learn to love as a mom.
This year, I resolve to stop trying to be better, to stop trying to be a different kind of person, and just be more me than ever. I won’t bemoan my pudgy thighs, I’ll simply give thanks that thus far they have always carried me where I wanted to go. I’ll spend less time worrying about what other people want me to be and more time focusing on who I really am, deep down in in my core. My life is messy and imperfect and sometimes boring, but it is mine. And this year I am determined to love it.
Sarah Ross is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Adrian, Michigan, and currently serves on the Board of Young Clergy Women International. Sarah lives in Adrian with her odd but lovable rescue dog, Molly, and is hoping to welcome a child into her home through foster-adoption.
Image by: John Paul Tyrone Fernandez
Used with permission