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  • Jay

January, 2024.

Our morning walk was quieter than usual. No fellow dog walkers to greet us in passing while pretending to be interested in small pleasantries. The festivities driven by fireworks and "Happy New Year" chants on these once busy streets just hours earlier, now a thing of the past as the party going night owls rested.

 

The snow that had blanketed the ground only two days prior, long gone. A brisk January day where most of the leaves had fallen to the earth and grand Christmas decorations remained on the exteriors of brick houses that lined the block. January was hit or miss in Chicago for winter weather, but I was elated to see that God was merciful in allowing us more time to enjoy the last of the colors leftover from autumn’s departure.

 

Another 365 signed, sealed, and delivered to the archives faster than I could think up the age-old cliché - a resolution. Easily one of my least favorite new year traditions, but it seemed that if I didn’t participate in this, I was failing to set attainable goals before starting a new. Time feels increasingly borrowed as we drift further into the future, but I was grateful to have coasted into 2024 safely, quietly, and gently.

 

I reminisced on Roy Hargrove’s rendition of “My Funny Valentine” cooing the perfect lullabies on vinyl and the little hands gently wrapped around my waist when midnight struck. It felt like the sweetest way to greet a new year. I felt blessed and for the first time in a long time, I was proud of myself for simply making it through a year I thought for sure had it out for my demise. 2023 was one for the books, chocolate drizzled with the expected and cherry topped with an overwhelming amount of the unexpected. I was tested in more ways than I could count, but the most gratifying parts were in seeing my own perseverance in situations where I thought I had nothing left to give.

 

Unbeknownst to me it was those moments, where I was developing the most important relationship I’d had in years; the one with myself. I poured thoughtfully into me without even realizing it.


I exercised more.

I asked for help.

I tried new things.

I learned new skills.

I created and respected my own boundaries.

I learned to say “no”.

I talked to God more.

I vented to others less.

I allowed myself to feel.

I gave myself grace without judgement.

I did little things that made me smile.

I ASKED for help.

 

Though small to onlookers, these accomplishments were mountainous for me. They laid the foundation for a new year filled with providing myself the romance I wished to find in someone else. My resolution dilemma now resolved; I aspired to fill myself with all of the romance my heart could handle. I’d light more candles, buy more roses just because, pour more wine, go on more solo dates. I’d treat myself the way I wanted to be treated. The way I deserved to be treated, with soft and graceful love. The kind that doesn’t abandon you when things become difficult, but instead provides reassurance in moments of self-doubt and whispers the thoughtful affirmations that keep the self-sabotaging anxiety at bay. I was going to be that for me. I was going to romance myself rather than waiting for it from someone else.

 

Time feels increasingly borrowed and I refused to waste another second of this lifetime lacking love for the woman I got to be.

 

The wind blew and the leaves whirled along the sidewalk covered in helicopter seeds. My furry little walking buddy, clearly uninterested in adding another block to our 15-minute stroll, tugged on the leash forcing me back in the direction of home.

 

I shuffled through my playlist to time travel back to midnight with Roy Hargrove and floated, high on my new resolution, all the way home.  

 

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