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A New Year’s Reflection

Even though I can find it disappointing not to have someone for the holidays, honestly, by the time New Year’s rolls around I’m usually thinking about what’s next, not stressing about what isn’t, in the past year.

There’s always something a little exciting about starting over, isn’t there? I know it’s just a date on the calendar in the dead of winter, but something about a whole new year always gets me excited about the possibilities. For Anne of Green Gables every day is fresh with no mistakes in it, and I love that, but I find it easier to put a whole year behind me at a time.

Not that 2017 was completely terrible. At this point, I find it helpful to reflect on the past year with a kind lens. My focus is so often on what didn’t happen and what didn’t go well, rather than on the good things.

Romance is often on my mind, for better or worse, and I finished 2017 single and with no prospects. It’s easy to see that as a failure. But when I dig a little deeper, I think about the love and care that I poured into myself—a choice I made after going on quite a few dates in a row that didn’t make me feel great about myself. That break from dating gave me a chance to connect more deeply with friends and family, put the attention I wanted into my work, and nurture my own soul. When I did have the opportunity to date again, I took it. In those relationships I was honest about what I was hoping for, and about who I am. Just because they didn’t go the distance doesn’t mean that I did anything wrong, or that I’m not good enough (you just might need to hear that, too).

It’s tempting, isn’t it, to imagine that because you’re still single and you don’t want to be, that you’ve failed in some way? It’s not true at all. My guess is that you are doing all you can, and that it just isn’t the right time yet. Honestly, I think the most any of us can do is show up to our lives wholeheartedly, trying our best to catch sight of what’s for us and pass by the things that aren’t.

Please join me in the hope for all that is to come. Maybe it won’t look the way we want (what ever does, really?) but what if it’s actually better? What if it’s just what suits us, just what we need?

Lately, I’ve been salsa dancing every weekend, so I hope you’ll permit a dancing metaphor. When the dance is over, there is a transition. As I let go of my former partner, we squeeze hands, sometimes we hug and say thank you. Then, I greet my new partner with a warm smile and a lot of enthusiasm. I’ve decided to squeeze 2017’s hand as we part, and whisper a little thank you, for everything as I greet 2018 with a grin, and reach out, trusting that I’m in good hands.

Cara Strickland writes about food and drink, mental health, faith and being single from her home in the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys hot tea, good wine, and deep conversations. She will always want to play with your dog. Connect with her on Twitter @anxiouscook.