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My hot date for New Year’s: life!

This time of year, it’s not unusual to find yourself spending more than a little time navel-gazing, head-scratching, and tossing back an extra glass of Cab in pursuit of the answers to the mysteries of life. It’s easy, in the hustle-bustle of gift-giving and party-going, to find yourself wondering at odd moments, “Is this all there is?”

And New Year’s Eve, suffering from the weight of the philosophical import of one year ending and another beginning, is one night I don’t think anyone really wants to face that question alone.

Valentine’s Day? Piece of cake. Commercialized, force-fed romance doesn’t push any of my buttons. But New Year’s? That’s a hard one to do alone. The whole world is a party, or so it seems, on the last night of the year, and even the most independent among us must yearn to some degree to raise a glass in toast and have someone else’s glass to clink ours against.

I love the idea of celebrating what’s past and being excited about what’s ahead, but these days, if I’m going to spend New Year’s – my favorite holiday of the year –with someone, I want it to be someone with soul – someone who has that ineffable quality of being wholly alive that you can’t shake, bake, or fake.

I may admire “soul,” but I’ve never believed in the concept of “soul mates.” Holding out for a soul mate has always struck me as a little like holding out for a shooting star. That kind of brilliance has a trajectory all its own and believing that someday you’ll find someone whose soul is traveling on a path similar to yours, well, it’s putting an awful lot of stock in the heavens.

So though I doubt we all have human soul mates waiting for us somewhere “out there” if only we could find them … I am thinking that maybe our soul mate is right there inside us — no searching required.

Maybe our soul mate is found in the hurly burly rollercoaster we call our life – that wild ride that climbs so slowly at first, only to gather speed at a dizzying rate, whipping us through the years like rag dolls, leaving us screaming, clutching at at the security bars one minute, throwing our hands up with abandon the next, laughing and terrified at the same time.

Maybe it is our own lives that are the true “mates” to our souls.

After all, it’s our lives, with all their highs and lows and twists and turns – even more so than the people in them — that shape our soul’s journey. It is our lives that teach us what is and isn’t real; our lives which help us learn who and what is worth fighting for, and understand what has to be let go and when.

Inevitably, no matter how fabulous your life ride has been, no matter which dreams did or did not come true, no matter whether you’ve got a permanent date lined up for New Year’s or not … one day you’ll wake up on the far side of youth, in an adult body and life riddled with joy and celebration, yes, but also with pain and too many disillusions to ignore, and you’ll ask yourself “Is this all there is?”

And if you’re listening, the answer you’ll get is yes. The skies will part, the heavens will sing, you’ll get a hitch in your giddyup … and you’ll know: Hell yes, — your one precious, crazy, imperfect, heartbreakingly beautiful life — is all there is and all there ever will be.

Your life is your soul mate, baby. Love it with everything you’ve got.

Posted on December 26th, 2008Comments RSS Feed
8 Responses to My hot date for New Year’s: life!
  1. So, you’re staying in, watching a good movie, then going to sleep early like last year ?

  2. Me too..

  3. Sigh…

  4. Oh for goodness sakes, John do you want me to play matchmaker for you??Sigh indeed!:-)

  5. Susan M. Kinsella
    January 5, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Way back when I was in my thirties, I found myself on New Year’s Eve at The Stone Church in Newmarket NH with a bunch of good friends and realized I just wasn’t having any fun. I resolved to just stay home on New Year’s from then on. I make myself a wonderful dinner with a bottle of wine outside my usual budget. This year it was crab stuffed portabello mushrooms and a bottle of really lovely French rose. Sometimes I stay up to watch the ball drop, sometimes I don’t. Always, I toast the passing year and all that it has brought into my life.

    Much nicer than spending the night drinking too much and pretending I’m having fun.

  6. Thanks for posting, Susan. I am TOTALLY jealous of your NY dinner — that is my dream dinner! Wishing you all best for ’09. MC

  7. Yours is the usual definition of soul mate, but there are others. In “Eat, Pray, Love” (chic book my sister sent me) Gilbert says that, rather than being the ultimate snuggle bunny, a soul mate is one who knows you well so to challenge you psychologically and spiritually that you may grow. That SM is seen as someone who is jabbing you and pressing you to higher levels. Less comfortable, but more payoff in the long run.

  8. Absolutely agree with you, David. And that’s what I want in a partner someday if I’m ever lucky enough — someone who occasionally, gently, sometimes not so gently, pushes me to higher levels, to be better than I think I can be or even know I want to be.

    Eat Pray Love is one of my all-time favorite books.

    Thanks for the comment!

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