New Year’s has snuck up on me. Looking back over this past year is sort of surreal. It started out with me and my family being literally homeless! Due to a house fire, we spent the last 15 months adjusting to a rental home. While we had a home, it wasn’t our home. The year flew by and is now ending with us moving into a big, beautiful home (literally STUNNING!!!). Actually, the home’s beauty makes me feel a little self-conscious—how crazy is that? Every time someone mentions its size, I cringe. “It’s big,” they say; “I know,” I think.
The home rebuild required us to lift 8 feet off the ground, giving our already large home the feeling of immensity (to some). While we were building, we were given the opportunity to add a much-longed-for fourth bedroom as well. As this beautiful structure was being built, I worried myself to death over various things, like would the building process inconvenience my neighbors; would people judge us about the size of the home (funny, a year ago people loved helping us, so it is hard to believe I would worry that they would judge us); and what would insurance pay for and what would we pay for. Turns out we would pay for a lot! But with every decision we had to make, we went back to our tried-and-true belief that “you only regret the things you don’t do” (yes, that meant three Toto toilets and a rooftop deck!!!).
My husband, Kevin, battled a serious illness 10 years ago, and I think it affected the way we do life. We sort of aim for “no regrets.” We faced bile duct cancer, Hurricane Sandy, and a house fire—they were sh**ty events, but with time each event resulted in a certain beauty. Quite honestly, we may not be living the life we do if it weren’t for those tough times.
2018 was a rebuilding year, for sure. With our faith and love, we have built our dream house. We took an adversity and turned it into abundance. That is the lesson we also taught our kids. Not that you should have a huge house with a roof deck, but that if you prepare for a rainy, or “firey” day, when they come around, you can turn them into beauty, and that your worst fear and your worst year become distant memories in just a few months’ time. Life is hard at times, but given time it is also good—really, really good.
I think that is the main point this month as we begin a new year. If we are struggling—if things are really, really dark for right now—we need to remind ourselves that the darkness is always followed by light. That the gift of time is the gift of infinite possibility.
Take our cancer battle: Since that sh**ty time, we love with abandon (and fight with fever); we are charitable until it hurts; we surf big waves; and we build big houses, which we fill with more love than can be imagined.
How is this for a New Year’s resolution? Together in 2019, let’s focus on happiness—being happy for ourselves (no self-conscious nonsense); happy for others; and, most importantly, happy that the worst days in our life will at some point be a memory. If we do this collectively, we just may change the world! (How’s that for a New Year’s goal???)