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Post-Christmas, Pre-New Year’s


We are now in the limbo between two holidays — one wistful and familiar, evocative of snowfall we’ve never seen from our windows; and the other hopeful and exciting, all champagne and sparkle. Even if what glitters isn’t gold.  

So it goes.

Christmas and New Year’s Eve are inverse bookends. At some point this week, your house will empty of visitors, and you will strip your home of the warm glow of Christmas lights. Maybe you’ll think of that off-color remark a relative said as you wash the dishes. Maybe you’ll find new stains on your furniture. Maybe you’ll think you didn’t do enough for those around you.

So it goes.

This Christmas, I was lucky enough to receive three items that I can use every day, and from which I can learn and hone new skills. A white Fender Stratocaster from my boyfriend (named Aurora, after my birthplace in Colorado), A KitchenAid mixer from my mother (to attempt to recreate her mother’s cookies), and a black Littmann cardiac stethoscope from my aunt, a physician’s assistant. She wanted me to have the best, and now I do.

I put the cold disk of the stethoscope to my grandmother’s chest and heard her heart murmur. Before, I had only learned of the heart in nursing school, but never actually heard anyone’s heart beat through a stethoscope. I went home and tested my knowledge out on myself, hearing my internal metronome from various places. Lub-dupp. Lub-dupp.

Sometime between taking the tool out of my ears and placing it back in its case, I held the weight of responsibility in my hands. This will be what I will use to hear the hearts of people I’ve yet to meet, possibly you or someone you know, in a setting I’ve yet to be assigned. I thought of all I’ve given up to go back to school, to begin again. A stable yet draining job, nights and weekends, group trips to festivals and new cities that made memories to which I did not contribute.

So it goes.

Holding the stethoscope,I felt not anxious or brave. Only capable. Yes, something inside me said. This is it. I am building my future. There will be other nights and weekends, but I only have one future. The sacrifices seemed more than a fair trade for the life that I want to create. A life I won’t only have, but will thrive within.

So it goes.

I hope, in your quiet moments, that you think of all you’ve done and feel fulfilled. I hope you feel like you are enough, that you are worthy of love. That you are capable of accomplishing your goals, or at least capable in taking the steps necessary to accomplish your goals.

And I hope your reflection happens within this in-between time. Before you put on something sparkly and hold a glass of something bubbly. Before we count down to midnight. Before we all begin again.

So it goes.


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