It feels like yesterday we were bringing in the new millennium and here we are again, well into a new decade. While New Year’s Day is supposed to be a time of joy and excitement, I usually find myself feeling a little nostalgic as the countdown begins. And so it was this year, except I came to a realization about my nostalgic sentiments. The recent television series, Mad Men precisely relayed how we attach values to things by this notion: “Nostalgia—it’s delicate but potent. In Greek, nostalgia literally means the pain from an old wound. A twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone….it takes us to a place where we ache to go again.” After years of approaching the New Year in this manner, I have come to the realization in 2010 that through these sentiments, I stifle my future—by longing for the past.
I am grateful for my past and all of the memories therein, however bright things are in store for me in 2010. I will be the first in my family to receive a Bachelor’s degree come May. I am thrilled to be able to say that and extremely proud of my accomplishments. God-willing, I will begin my long-awaited career soon after.
I have a list for everything. Some are written, some verbalized and still others are floating around inside my head waiting to be released. I am in the midst of fine-tuning the lists that I have compiled. A list of goals that I plan to achieve in the year ahead; a list of places I want to apply to; a list of people I want to thank; a list of things I want to do before I die; a list of qualities I seek in a man. And the list goes on. How many of these things will I get to check off in 2010? How many things will I accomplish that I never even thought to put on a list in the first place? To think that all these years I have yearned for the past when so much awaits me in the future is such a shame. I am eager to see how this new outlook will aid in my growth in the upcoming year.
Since Cara and I were very young, we have expressed our gratitude to one another for the three stages of our lives: past, present and future. Many of the stories we tell each other begin, “I love my past, I love my present and I love my future…” followed by a momentary silence where we both revel in the moment. I don’t think Cara would disagree that this could serve as a motto for our friendship, “Past. Present. Future.”
So, I approach this year with a new outlook on things. I cannot express how grateful I am for everything in my past. I have some of the greatest memories and there are some that I would like to forget—all of which have got me to where I am today. This is my present. It is who I am. I wouldn’t change it for anything, nor do I want to revert back to who I once was. I will soak up this moment, and eagerly await the next.
If it weren’t for my temporary refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages, I would pour myself a glass of Champaign to drink to the year ahead as I offer up this toast:
To the past, to the present and to the future.