I just had the best night with the kids celebrating New Years with our friends, lighting fireworks and eating so much delicious food that seemed like a culmination of local Hawaiian food (laulau! Portuguese bean soup! adobo! ambrosia!). We are so blessed. And happy.
2019. A new start.
I keep thinking about this concept of a “new start” of how we hold a year changing as a time to reassess who we are, who we want to be, where we came from and where we are going. We set all those goals and map out a year sometimes, in a vision board, in a planner, we take stock of our lives.
But the reality, as I’ve learned, is that every day is a choice, a beginning, a reflection, a chance. It’s not just the big moment of a the number of a year changing; it’s the day-to-day that makes up the sum total of the story of our lives, and that can be shifted at any time. Not just on a New Year.
I look back at 2018, and it all started on December 12, 2017. That was my New Year.
It was the day that I flew back to Hawaii with my 3 kids.
I had just gone through stupid levels of trauma with some 4 years living way off the grid, farming in Humboldt County (yes, that’s a link to Murder Mountain on Netflix).
The shooting and death of my brother. My husband’s lying, cheating, gaslighting and the implosion of our marriage. The spaces in between the periods that I lay in these sentences are filled with a myriad of details that contribute to the layering of more, more, ever more trauma, I felt crushed under the weight, feel and texture of So. Much. Grief.
December 12, 2017: A New Beginning
I bought a car. I found a place to rent – no easy task when no-one particularly wants to rent to a single mom with three kids. I figured out their school, got my daughter’s IEP settled, transferred health insurance.
I love how easy that sounds! Ha! “Transferred health insurance.” Which means more like, “after over 30 hours of waiting in the offices, in-person interviews, telephone conferences and 4 months of waiting, back-and-forths and submission of enough paperwork to handle a divorce, I successfully transferred health insurance for my kids from California to Hawaii.
I got my own health insurance transferred too. I opened up a bank account, transferred my driver’s license – again, not an easy thing to do with my divorce – whoah, but the paperwork! The things that needed notarizing! But I got this really cool license in the end, from the very same DMV that I got my very first license when I was 15.
Rainbows are a fact of life here, appearing everywhere, always, because of the rain and clouds. These are rainbow islands, with rainbow towns. And rainbows, we all know, come after the rain. Rainbow babies – such as my daughter Moxie – are children that come after a miscarriage, the bright after the dark. Joy after grief.
2018 was all that for me: it was the shift from the clouds to the rainbows. It was about me putting in the hard work that deep spiritual healing requires.
And when my spirit felt steady enough, it was August 27th.
August 27th: A New Beginning
On August 27th, I looked at my body and thought, hey! I’m ready for some change!
I went for a round of the 21 Day Fix, then the 21 Day Fix Extreme, then T25 before signing up with BeachBody on Demand – which is the best program in the world, I think, and the best value for anyone’s money.
I’m still doing the 80 Day Obsession, and I am getting stronger (my post on it and links to stuff is here).
This was a pretty big shift though – not a regular little nod to fitness then slipping back to my Doritos. Nope. I turned to clean eating, ditched alcohol and have been exercising 5 or 6 days a week since. I feel great; I wake up rested and happy, I am painting and creating daily.
I have amazing adventures with my kids.
Labor Day, 2016: A New Beginning
September 4th, 2016. The day my brother died.
The day it was hammered into my spirit, my consciousness, my soul, that everything can change in an instant, a moment, a breath, a heartbeat.
Emerging from that was my new beginning of valuing and holding dear all that I love. My children are first and foremost there.
I have never returned anywhere.
I spent 44 years going, going, go, go, go. Moving and traveling and moving and going. Always forward, never back.
Coming back to Hilo was exactly what I needed, to be in a space that holds so many memories with my brother. My growing pains through adolescence were here. The awkwardness of getting fitted with hearing aids that I’d wear forever after was here, my Jack n’ the Box job as a teenager was right at the Jack n’ the Box by KTA in the Puainako Town Center.
My paper route (that Dana gave me) was here.
How much I needed to be physically around these memories and I needed to be in a place of aloha, where people have time and where my cooking is normal.
2019 is here and it’s 12 chapters with 365 pages that can be filled with whatever stories we choose.
Our focus is always what we want it to be. That choice is always ours to make.
We can pivot and change the direction of our story whenever we want; our January 1st can be August 27th or it can be September 4th, December 12th. It can whenever the moment is right, whenever our mind has caught up with our spirit, or when our feet are willing and ready.
It can be whenever the time has aligned in the right way.
This brings me satisfaction and comfort, as it removes needless stress that I might otherwise have placed on myself or my goals, thinking that everything needs to be this or that way by this or that time. That I needed to be more, do more, something, whatever more.
And I think I see now that I need to do the opposite: just relax and be right here in this moment.
Meriah Nichols is a counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one on the spectrum). Deaf, and neurodiverse herself, she’s a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.