She sat on those New Year's days clueless. She celebrated with joy and abandon, looking forward to the year ahead. She thought this year, this one, will be better. This will be the year of happiness and carefree wonder, of success and new thrills. "This," she said to herself, "is my year."
Oh, that I could go back and sit with her. I would hold her hand and try not to stifle her smile. Would I destroy the hope she held like a shiny bauble? Or would I let her go on,let her believe, knowing as I do, that those years would be nothing like she dreamed? Would I tell her gently of the pain that awaited, of the tears she would shed and the ways her heart would never be the same? Would I, could I, prepare her for the unexpected doors she would be forced to open? Wouldn't it be better for her, to know about the trials, the pain, the sorrow? Couldn't she be stronger if she had the chance to be ready, to shore up her walls, fill up her pantry, stock up on strength and will and grit?
Because, today, she sits and stares at the year before her. And, she is scared. She's learned her lesson and she knows-- this year will be nothing like she expects. If her future self came calling to the door, asking to come in, would she let her? Would she want to know what lay in store? Could she handle the insights, the warnings, the truth of her future? Or would she, instead, choose ignorance?
I think she would open the door, give her future self a hug, then, kindly, politely, tell her no. There is no strength in knowing what will come. Our power comes through fortitude, through the actual struggle. It is hard, it is hurtful, but it is the only way we grow.
So, if I could go back to that woman, last year and the one before, I would simply tell her this-- it will be harder than you imagine, tougher than you dream, but you will come out of it polished and refined and that much closer to the woman you are meant to be.
And, that is what I'm telling myself today. 2014 will surely bring its own set of challenges and heartache. But, it will also bring growth, and change, and joy.
This is my year.