Happy New Year?
I don’t know about you but this time of the year always feels like a new beginning. Even though the leaves are falling and we are coming close to the end of the calendar year, to me the coming of autumn always feels like the start of a new year. September reawakens my little college town as students and professors fill the streets and coffee shops. While my brother’s beach town quiets down, locals return to their normal routines as summer visitors go home. So I have been thinking about how this is more of the beginning of a new year then end of one.
And it has been especially true for me this year having just sent my son off to college. So this is really a new beginning for me – my life as an empty-nester! I am no longer a daily parent. I’m just Mom at the end of a phone line or for a weekend visit.
And let me tell you I absolutely love every minute of it!
Now of course I miss seeing my son and my daughter for that matter. But what I do not miss after over 30 years is the daily task of parenting, of managing someone else’s schedule, food intake and laundry just to name a few. Now for the first time in a very long time I am only responsible for me – my husband is quite a capable human being and can be fairly self sufficient when he needs to be.
For me this new beginning is a relaxing and exciting change. But my son’s new beginning at college is a far more stressful one. Adjusting to a daily life that is so new and unfamiliar. Nothing is the same – not the bed, sheets, people or food – nothing to hang onto for the comfort of familiarity. But eventually, day-by-day that will change and the new will become familiar to him and soon will be routine.
A year ago I started a similar new adventure, walking 400 miles on the Camino de Santiago through Northern Spain. And those first few days were very stressful, not knowing what to expect or how I would manage. Everything was new and different. But as I got used to the walking and the daily routine it became easier.
But even as it became familiar each day was a new beginning, a new adventure. What would I see? Who would I meet? What would be there when I arrived? Sometimes I started the day knowing it would be difficult, the weather, the terrain or the distance. But it was just one day and when I got there it was done. And tomorrow would bring something new.
The Camino taught me to see everyday as a new adventure and to just focus on the day ahead. I also learned that everyday could be “a do over” but with experience. I took the lessons I learned from the day’s walk and that made the next day easier.
And I learned to stop and rest my feet, eat some food, drink some water, then get up and keep walking. Each day I moved forward into the unknown by taking one step at a time because turning back or quitting was not an option. And one day I arrived in Santiago – my destination – and I was overjoyed at my accomplishment. And now a year later I miss The Camino and I am anxious to venture out again.
So as you start your new year – go bravely into the unknown, it might be difficult and stressful at first, but just keep walking. Put one foot in front of the other and focus on the day in front of you. Learn to rest not quit. And you will learn what I did – that you are far stronger and more courageous than you know.
I wish you safe travel as you journey ahead into this New Year.
May it be filled with lots of exciting adventures.
Happy New Year and Buen Camino!