It has been a stimulating start to the New Year to say the very least. I really debated going out on New Year’s Eve. I used to make a big deal of ringing in midnight with friends. I think not really feeling like I had much of a winter break led me to ultimately decided to ring in the new year by catching up on some TV and watching a movie. I nearly saw the whole thing in its entirety as well! Honestly, I fell asleep about 15 minutes shy of midnight, with 20 minutes left in my movie, and I’m okay with it.
I went out with a friend on New Years Day and had a lovely dinner. Sometimes you meet people and you forget about them right away. And sometimes you meet people, and it’s like you’ve always known them. Talking is easy, and while new, feels as natural as breathing. It’s rare and refreshing. Unfortunately, I got home and as luck would have it, I got food poisoning. I spent the entire night vomiting and had to call in sick for work. My entire torso felt bruised from the inside out for three days. I’m still feeling the ramifications of it nearly a week later. I called the restaurant and spoke with the manager, who informed me that maybe I was just prone to getting food poisoning and it was my fault. Let me tell you, dear reader, I hate confrontation. But I will stand up for myself if necessary and I think I’m pretty good at deciding when it’s worth it and when it’s better to walk away. I wanted to deck her. I’ve had food poisoning twice before and it’s heinous and not anyone’s fault but a dirty kitchen or cook or bad food. As a matter, if principle, I picked up the partial refund she offered. If I was a better person, I might have demanded a refund on the whole meal. I just didn’t think it was in me to deal with this woman. So I walked away. Needless to say, I won’t be going back any time soon.
With everything in the recent past, my family and I never celebrated the holidays. My sister was adamant we all get together or no one does. So, no one did and we waited. This past Friday we gathered, made a turkey dinner, and swapped gifts. It was late, and it was lovely. We hadn’t all been together like that in months. My sister and her fiance couldn’t make Thanksgiving, and with myself out of town for Christmas, it felt like the holidays never really happened. On Saturday, extended family came over for lunch and that evening was my annual Sock Party. I look forward to this event every year and it was just as lovely as ever. I learned a new group game recently and implemented it into the party. Between the friends from near and far, new and old, the laughter… so much laughter, good food, games, it was lovely. I even tried to cut my knuckle off around eleven that day. Not even a bloodied bandaged up finger was going to ruin my weekend.
I’ve been feeling a bit out of touch with people for a while now and I largely play a roll in that. But This weekend I was reminded that I do have some wonderful people in my life, distance be damned. Friday, I received a pineapple from FedEx. I’ve received some pretty random gifts in the past, and they always hold a particular place in my heart. Like the old man candle from my bestie who lives in Seattle. He said it’s a bit random, ugly at certain angles, old, and weird… kind of like our friendship. I’ll never forget it and I have it on display. He’s not wrong, and for whatever reason, this ugly little candle makes me smile. But a pineapple? Who sent it? No return label? No letter, no immediate explanation. That evening I received a hint as to its origins. So I sent a message with a picture of the pineapple in question. The reply almost made me cry. She said she receives letters, cards, and postcards from me at random. They brighten her day. But she’s not so good at writing and so she sent the next best thing she could think of. As it would turn out one of the meanings of pineapples is friendship. We cut it up at the party on Saturday and it was delicious!
One of my besties of 20+ years gave me another one of those incredibly thoughtful gifts that keeps giving only this time it really did make me cry. It’s been a rough end to the year, and not just for myself, but for a lot of people I know. The last few months have seemed to test and push me to the brink. But it’s in those moments that we truly learn who we are and what we’re capable of. I could have collapsed back in on myself but instead, I decided to feel my shit, sit in it, learn from it, and move forward. I don’t want to regret anything, and I’ve learned I might not get it right all the time but I can keep trying. I can keep letting myself be vulnerable even when my instincts tell me to build a wall. I don’t have to fall on old habits, I can grow, and I can be better.
I might have had a few hiccups at the start of this year. But I’m not going to let it determine shit. I make my future and I’m telling you, it looks bright. This is going to be an amazing year and I refuse to accept anything less. I might believe in fate but I also know I make my own destiny.