Posted by: Kristy | January 4, 2011

Happy freaking New Year. No, really. I mean it.

I know, I already wrote a “Holy crap, it’s 2011!” post, but I’ve been thinking about this topic for a few days and wanted to share.

OK, so I have this odd quirk I need to expunge in the name of a fresh year. Dec. 30 traditionally is the final day of easy breathing and non-freaking-out day of the year, at least as far as I’m concerned.

Ever since I was a teenager, New Year’s Eve began to lose its appeal year after year until we reached the point where five days ago I found myself 26 years old and preparing  for an anxiety attack at, oh, 11:50 p.m. Judging from past experience, said attack  escalates until at 11:59 p.m. I remind myself to breathe and look  around frantically for a glass of champagne to chug the minute I’m allowed.

In essence, I don’t enjoy the new year at all. In fact, you could even say I hate … HATE … New Year’s Eve.

I can be in a room full of people. I can be standing next to my best friend. I can be with my family. And I still almost puke when everyone else is smiling and kissing and hugging and shouting joy to the new year. The year that draws me older. And closer to death. And reminds me of how much I still have to accomplish. And how time is flying by, damn it!

I’m not sure from where this momentary pessimism stems. My mom laughs at me. I get aggravated with myself because I am a positive, vibrant, hopeful person. I should be genuinely responding to the occasion instead of faking it the way I do. Nope. That would be too easy. Too normal. Instead my overactive mind literally screams “Oh, God … 9 … this sucks … 8 … my heart’s going to explode out of my chest … 7 … I’m going to wipe that smile off of Dick Clark’s face, yes I am .. 6 … Oh, God … 5 … did the clock speed up … 4 … I think it did … 3 … it DID! It’s going faster … 2 … OH, GOD … 1 … I hope my smile doesn’t look as fake as it FEELS … Happy Freaking New Year!”

It’s not fun. Nor pretty. Sigh.

So this year, with a deep, soul-stirring sigh I donned a sexy dress, put my hair up, slicked on silvery eyeshadow and my confidence-inspiring red lipstick, packed extra tissues in my clutch (along with some business cards in case I held it together and met anyone interesting), grabbed my beau by his jacket sleeve and hauled our hot asses to a swanky* party downtown with my closest girlfriends. If I was going to flip out in the dying seconds of 2010, you’d better believe I was going to do it in style!

We ate. We danced. We drank. We laughed. We took goofy pictures. I drank some more. (An ounce of preparation and all that jazz.) And when Times Square filled the giant projection screen in the ballroom and waitresses began passing out toasting flutes, I snuggled tighter to the arm wrapped around me and took a good, bracing look around as I waited for the flood of dismay.

Know what I saw?

I saw four beautiful faces, the women I have come to embrace as friends and confidants and, one especially, as sisters. I felt a solid 5-feet-10-inch nook of support ready to squeeze the anxiety out of me the minute a single stressed-out tear eeked its way out of my carefully made up eye. I saw a year of growing as a business woman and a friend and a daughter and, really, a woman who loves God and is striving to discover the adventure he has laid out for me next. I saw all of the changes I’ve processed and embraced and moved through and I saw the beautiful, beautiful season of life God has placed me in right in this moment. A season that didn’t have an end point the minute we all shouted to welcome the next set of changes and fun and tears and growth. Nope, a season that is overlapping and ebbing and flowing.

I didn’t feel anxious. I felt blessed. And happy, really happy.

I didn’t cry. I felt excited, if you can believe that.

I didn’t vomit. I kissed and hugged and shouted and toasted.

For the first time, I don’t want last year back for a few more seconds. I’m ready for this year.

* I’m not that stuck up and don’t actually use swanky in real life. I just like to say it. Swanky. Isn’t it fun?

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