Closing Out 2018

The days between Christmas and New Years feels like they reside in a place outside of time. According to a tweet I saw this week, they used to do exactly that. Calendars used to end on Christmas and the new one wouldn’t begin until January 1. I’ve no idea if that factoid is accurate, but it amuses me to think it so. Days outside of time is how this week feels.

But then today is New Years Eve, and that feels fixed. Tied inextricably to the beginning of next year. My family celebrated by going out into the sub-freezing garage and loading my car full of donation items. The garage does not look much cleaner yet, but it is a step closer to where it needs to be. We have plans for the house which involve using garage space to stain cabinets. A few closets and cupboards were also emptied out and sorted. That was where I discovered this stash of birthday candles.

For a long time I saved candles from year to year, particularly the big number ones. When the kids were little, that made sense. They haven’t been little for quite a while now. Yet these candles lingered in our lives taking up space in a cupboard because we never thought to get rid of them. Their purpose is done, we can move on.

Another thing I have been working on in this timeless space between the years is finishing up family photo books. I’ve reached the point where the only one left to do is 2018. This is the first time I’ve been caught up on those since 2012. As I began sorting photos for 2018, I find myself thinking “That was this year?” As I see news-in-review online, I think the same thing. Somehow 2018 feels like it was far longer than a single year. At the same time I see a photo and think “wait that was last January?” Some events feel much closer in time than they actually are, while others feel much longer ago. Perhaps there was a watershed (or several) somewhere in the middle of 2018 and everything before it feels “long ago” and everything since feels “recent.” Only I can’t identify a single event or time span with a large shift in it. Rather the whole year has been a constant and steady shift-of-course for multiple people in our family. We are not now who we were when this year began.

I know that I am not. For the first time in several years, I am not afraid of the year to come. I’m not feeling worn or weary. It is a good feeling, as is the clean emptiness of the closets and cupboards and the progress on changing the garage. Every little thing helps us move forward, and “excited to move forward” is a good feeling for New Years Eve.