WHAT’S NEW?

I’m not much of a New Year’s person.

Other than starting a new calendar (in the years I remember to buy one), January 1 doesn’t feel like much of a beginning to me.

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Is this odd?

Maybe it’s because my brain doesn’t file things by dates. I do know the years of my birth, high school graduation, and kids’ births, but, other than that, I rarely remember the year anything significant happened. Heck, half the time I can’t remember my own age.

I save memories more by milestones: I got chicken pox in my Chicago childhood home, braces when I started jr. high, morning sickness on Thanksgiving morning, and a passport for my 40th birthday. R-boy lost his first tooth on his first trip to Disneyland and R-girl lost her pet turtle for a few tense hours in our Boise backyard.

Dates are not important to me in these stories. Just the people and the feelings and my general recollection of the facts.

So when folks talk about the new year like a new chapter, it doesn’t really resonate for me. The new year feels pretty much exactly like the old one, with a new number attached that I may or may not remember.

But this doesn’t mean I don’t do chapters.

I’m all about them.

Many of my chapters have begun (and sometimes ended) with relationships that have done the same. Others started with something new in my life—a new home or church or hairstyle (the Dorothy Hamill changed my whole self in 5th grade).

But, quite often, the new chapters of my life begin when a paradigm gets shifted or a belief gets toppled. When I hear a story, or a truth, or a confession that turns my world upside down. When I have the type of revelation that creates a before/after divide in the timeline of me.

There was the chapter that began when I first learned, as a stressed young mom, what codependency is—and how it had commandeered my life.

Or the chapter that started when I first experienced real grace.

Or grief.

Or warm Ugg boots on my freezing feet.

These are the chapters I look back on and remember. Each had a very clear beginning, and most have not ended. They’ve progressed. They continue to unfold. (Except my Doritos chapter. That’s over.)

When these reality-shaking revelations show up, they always present me with a clear choice: I can pretend I don’t know what I now know, or I can open myself up to the new, and let it shape me.

I haven’t always chosen to be open. Sometimes my foundations had to shake several times—or completely disintegrate—before I even realized I could be open. But whenever I’ve chosen to let a new truth in, a new chapter has begun.

And, usually (especially if I’ve also had some courage, determination, support, guidance, prayer, and willingness to make mistakes), growth happens too.

So, although I honestly can’t remember ever making a New Year’s resolution, I do get to look back on my life and see progress. Thank the heavens above.

It’s sometimes slow progress. But it’s also sure.

 

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Here’s to new chapters, friends.

Actually, now that I think about it, there is one thing I’m doing differently as I begin this new year. I’ll post about that soon. Stay tuned if you’re curious.

xo

 

4 Comments

  • Julie

    Thanks so much, Jonah. I read your New Years post and was inspired. So good to discover kindred souls.

     
  • Jonah Ven

    Ah, I really resonate with this! I wrote a little in my own New Years post about how 2017 doesn’t really feel like a new chapter either simply by virtue of being a new calendar year.

    And I find myself organizing my life based on experiences, memories, and learned things as well. When I think about life, I usually categorize it in about 4 different blocks of wildly different lengths based on what my experiences were and how I saw the world at the time.

    Such good words and thoughts

     
  • Julie

    Thank you, Amber! I’m especially thankful for that chapter…

     
  • Amber

    Beautiful post! “…the chapter that started when I first experienced real grace” – that resonates with me so much.

     

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