Despite what people believe, when the clock strikes twelve January first, the past is not immediately forgotten or erased; a new year begins, but not with a clean slate. We unfortunately do not live in a romantic comedy where that ball drop leads to the love of our life, the answer to our problems, a dream job, or just general insane, absolute happiness.
In fact, nothing changes that fast. We all look forward to the year, hoping, wishing, that something will change. That there will be love, happiness, adventures in our future. That we will be appreciated more, that we can work less, that we will get married, or have a baby, or finally write that screenplay. Whatever our heart and soul desire, that maybe – finally – a new year will bring it. Sure, we lament the night; the crowds, the cost, the hype, but there is always a part of us that wants this year to be better.
But, we’re not going into it unscathed; our scars, our losses, our struggles still exist. We still carry our pain, our burdens over into the new year. We hold onto our hurt and hold it in our hearts, but pretend it isn’t there. We act hopeful and joyful and yet, our smiles are not as bright, our laughs not as hearty, and our hearts not as full.
We don’t know each other’s struggles, we don’t know what story has come before. What hides behind, underneath, tucked away where we hope no one will find it.
So, as we greet each other and offer wishes and hope for the new year, inquire about holidays and plans, let us remember that there is more to what we show each other, more to our stories. Perhaps in 2016 we can be kinder, gentler, and more understanding to each other, and to the stories we all hold dear.