Last night Yoda and I were walking alone in the dark. Dark as in pitch black. Our driveway is about ¼ mile long gravel path, so trekking to the road and back has become our evening ritual. We are in the woods so there are no street lights. The only light was a narrow beam from my flashlight. As much as I have always fancied myself a rural girl at heart, when push comes to shove, walking in the dark is scary. When my boyfriend is traveling (which is quite often), Yoda and I have to do these nightly walks alone. It’s really quite safe. The only animals we regularly encounter are deer and rabbits. But it’s incredibly spooky when you know there are animals in the woods peering out at you that you can’t see – there have been times I’ve heard a deer snort an alert to its herd when we approach. I’ve developed a sort of mantra for when Yoda and I do these walks together, saying loudly “Be Brave.” I say this not only to give myself courage, but also to sound the warning to any animals in our path so they get out of the way.
My life since 2010 has been defined by near constant change. I’ve welcomed all of those changes, no matter how uncomfortable they made me, because what has come hand in hand with change is a feeling of finally living my life wide awake. However the last four months of 2015 involved a whirlwind of quick, colossal change, change that came too fast for comfort. Loads of cross-country business travel combined with moving across country to a coast that has very different energy than anywhere we have ever lived, left both me and Yoda a bit stunned with culture shock when we arrived. My life now is a mix of quiet rural living, combined with the frenetic energy for which the East Coast is known (we only live about an hour outside of NYC, so we have been making semi-regular drives into the city for business). Yoda is now on anti-anxiety medicine as well as his third round of antibiotics for stress-colitis, and he’s finally settling into this new normal. Given Yoda and I feed off of the energy of the other (totally unhealthy, I know), his lessening anxiety has brought much needed relaxation to me.
I’ve been writing letters to each new year for six years now. It’s a tradition I hope to continue for the rest of my life. But this year I’ve been stumped as to what my new year resolution should be. Be authentic? Embrace change? Trust? Get uncomfortable? Live with the cowgirl spirit? These were my new year’s resolutions from recent years, and they are all practices I’ve been incorporating into the way I approach life these days. But I’ve been convinced that there was a new resolution I could adopt that encompasses all of these things and then some.
Last night when Yoda and I were walking in the dark, I heard a rustling in the leaves next to us. I quickly loudly said my evening walk mantra: “BE BRAVE.” When I heard whatever it was scurry away into the woods, I smiled to myself with the realization that I had finally found my resolution for the new year.
When it comes to the future, the road ahead is often dark and unpredictable, just like my driveway. The unknown is scary, but it’s also exciting if we are brave and approach change with courage and an open heart. So this year, my sweet, dear, potentially delicious Year 2016, my new year’s resolution is to Be Brave.
In closing, Year 2016, I think I love you already.