Happy New Year!

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Technically, we rang in the new year six days ago, but I'm "officially" beginning mine today. So, Happy 2014! I spent the last five days in a sort of quiet reflection that seemed to be equal parts hibernation and meditation. I didn't tweet or Facebook much nor did I venture out of the house save a couple outings to enjoy time with friends on New Year's Day.  I journaled. I read books. I cooked and allowed myself to savor the blessed space between the start of the New Year and the "official" return to the grind. 

2013 was big. Real big.  As I journaled my experiences from the year, I realized just how much of the year was a divine gift, opportunities that materialized through no effort on my part. Honestly. I didn't have "drive across the country with my best friend" penciled into my planner, but I did it.  I didn't have "travel to Asheville, New York, Greenville and San Francisco" on the calendar and yet, I went to all of those places. There was so much more too. Rich experiences, new people and entire communities of individuals that have extended their own brand of kindness to me whether it be through food, friendship, work projects and even financial assistance. I planned none of it. 

Last year, I worked harder and happier than I have in my entire life. My plate was full with abundant opportunities and I simply showed up and went to work. At times, I feel like writing professionally took up much of my free time and I fell short in some areas. Managing a full workload was challenging and the learning curve, steep.  I could've nurtured my friendships better. I wish I had more time to extend thoughtful gestures and to see more people I love more often. To that end, I wish I could've done more. 

Typically, at the end of each year I go on a maniacal list-making spree, hammering out goals and resolutions all neatly bulleted into categories, subcategories and micro-categories. I don't know if it was the torrential inundation of "top 10" lists, "Best of 2013" lists and "14 things I won't be doing in the New Year" lists, but I just didn't feel the urge like I have in years past. 

Instead, I found a word. Actually, it found me.  I was in the shower in Tennessee over the holidays, visiting with the Mister's family, not thinking of anything in particular when the word GROW came into my consciousness. Like many of my experiences in 2013, the word simply showed up through no effort on my part. I thought, "that's my word" and have spent the days since thinking about what "GROW" looks like applied to all the areas of my life- my marriage, my spiritual life, my professional life and personal health. 

I made a list too, but nothing I will share here. The year will take me where it wants, I know that. I am hopeful and eager like I am at the beginning of each new year with a hungry willingness to learn what the world wants to teach me. These last few days in quiet contemplation have left me feeling rested and ready.  

With that "official" statement, I launch myself into 2014, once again open to the possibilities that await me, excited, joyful, hopeful and completely cognizant of my inability to manufacture what lies ahead. 

So, although we're six days in, it's finally nice to meet you, 2014. I think we're going to be fast friends.