January 1st, the clean slate day that comes around each year. Like most people who have reached middle age, I have an awful lot of chalk powder still building up on the floors of my life, as I try to erase away the bad stuff from the past. A lot of people like to appreciate the bad things, the belief that the bad stuff gets them to where they are today. Going through all that pain or suffering was only getting them to learn a lesson that needed to be learned. I don’t know about all that – I think there are times when I could’ve done without it. Really.
I like clean slates. And I love erasing the clutter. Just ask my kids – every year around this time, I make them go through their belongings and get rid of what they don’t want, need or use. My heart feels happy when I see a pile of clothing that needs to be packed up for a donation. My arms are stronger when I’m carrying the bags and boxes to my car in order to drop off at the donation center. My house feels lighter when the storage room is only holding Christmas decorations and a big box of old, outdated, obsolete and never used cables that my husband refuses to throw out.
I like looking at the chalk powder as I wipe the slate clean on the morning of a new year. It drifts slowly to the floor, reminding me that yes, the bad stuff and even the good stuff is nothing but dust after all. When the dust settles, I’m either standing on top of it or it’s adorning my shoes.
Last year, I couldn’t wait for 2015 to get here. 2014 was a year of heartache and pain for me, a year of tremendous failure, replete with regret and life changing reality checks. I suppose we all have months and years like that at some point in life, and that year was mine. There was nothing I wanted more than to clean my slate off completely, stand on the dusty soul-choking chalk of that year so I could then claim that I survived it and was still standing upright and give a big middle finger to life.
2015 brought real change to me personally, something profound and meaningful, necessary and new, something that I can be both proud of and excited about no matter the earthly outcome. Something that is mine and only mine. Something that no one can ever take away from me. Something real and lasting. It can’t betray me or lie to me or break my heart – a real love story in the making. And if you’ve never experienced a love story that has nothing to do with romance or sex, then you haven’t lived a full life yet. There are all kinds of love in the world, and I’ve needed to experience this kind more than any other.
The process of writing my first book, finding a publisher and throwing myself into this new writing journey – this is the kind of chalk powder that looks good on my shoes. It’s worn well. It adorns my boots, screams a job well done. Instead of standing on top of it like in years past, as I’ve risen from the ashes to fight another day, this particular chalk powder is there to remind me that it’s all good and the new clean slate of 2016 is waiting for me to continue with this new kind of love story.
I have my 2016 goals like many people do. They’re in my head and not in any kind of bulleted or numbered format. My life isn’t that organized anymore, no matter how much I’ve tried to force it into submission. And now, at long last, I’m okay with that.
The slate is wiped clean y’all. Go get you a 2016.