New Year’s Evolution by Gabrielle Kassel

Another year concludes with fancy hors d’oeuvres: brie-cheese and sodium-free tortilla chips, washed down by Prosecco and Smirnoff; Cheers! Hope tantalizes the threshold of 2015, the ball-drops, Anderson Cooper’s chuckle promises us 2015 will be better, and booze-happy, we can find no argument.

When the sequin-moon drops at midnight, we become a sea of Cinderella’s hunting for a smooch to usher in the New Year. Our parents kiss our foreheads, our lovers lick their lips, and then ours, our friends squeal and exchange pecks, and we smile. The scene is infectious, incestuous, and bubbling with tradition. Whether the evening is spent in an apartment glittering with fairy lights, or in the below freezing temperatures of Time Square, or our relative’s couch, we plop in a piece of gum, apply a sticky layer of gloss, and pucker up.

As the clock dings, the couples who fail to lock lips are promised a year of unease, the couples separated by time-zones and miles hurriedly dial the numbers of their lovers, and the singles who fail to find a kiss fear another year of bad luck with online dating and watching romantic comedies solo (as if kissing a random whose middle name we don’t know is worse than kissing no one at all).

The first of the year, we wake up with lipstick-stained cheeks, confetti littered floors, and pounding headaches: Bye, 2014! Bye to the year of the #selfie, bye to the year where social justice was only roused by avoidable deaths and suicides, bye to the year of Tinder. We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room-by-room, crafting a list of cracks to cake-close, a to-do list of self-improvements, a weight-loss goal. Perhaps, this year to balance out the list of ought-to’s, we can dance through our lives, not looking for flaws, but for potential.

I wake today, open my new agenda- not yet coffee stained- and reflect on 2014. A year of: lingering heartache, betrayed friendships, loud laughter, heavy boots, eraser shavings, tough news, long hugs, sad playlists, pump-up music, getting back up, tied sneakers, marathon satisfaction, choosing to walk alone, never being truly alone, incompletes, learning (unlearning, relearning), good books, coffee addiction, to-do lists, late night drives, cuddles, blankies, unbreakable spirits, and an unchangeable love for life as time presses on. 2014 was a year of excess: I felt love with gluttony, felt heartbreaks’ devastation, worked tirelessly, studied endlessly, and ran myself breathless.

So today, as I do on the first of every year, I come up with a motto for the year. (2012’s mottos was ‘feel it, don’t think it’, 2013’s motto was ‘trust your instinct’, 2014’s motto was ‘butterflies from love, not from fear’). My motto for 2015 is ‘everything in moderation’. Taking and refining my experiences from 2014, I hope to evolve into the most balanced version of myself.

Perhaps resolving is not the golden ticket of the recycled calendar, but evolving.

A year from now, we will weigh more or less than we do now, will have saved or spent money, have fallen in or out of love, have drunk more or less, have accomplished the list of resolutions we’ve made for ourselves, or not. It is my hope for my reader’s and myself that we do not see these misgivings as representative of our character. But that instead, we reflect further, and think about the ways we have evolved emotionally.

Let us mature with the damage and losses from the past year. Let our desire to be understood not blind our ability to be understanding. Let us keep coming up with new ways to say love, to say sorry. Let us allow the light to pass through us. Let us learn from our experiences. Let our upcoming year be filled with magic and the good kind of madness. This year, let us surprise ourselves with how capable, how learning, how full of glow we are. This year, let us evolve.

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