The first trick in tackling a big goal, they say, is to set a meaningful deadline - a line in the sand for yourself that says when we step over this line, somehow our lives will be different. This deadline becomes a mantra, a time we whisper to ourselves over and over again. Sometimes it is a promise, and sometimes it is a threat. I know, I’ve been doing just this for the last five years. My deadline has been built into passwords, doodled on legal pads in full scroll, scratched into Jiffy Lube Receipts. February 28, 2016. As I doodled, I always wondered what it would feel like to arrive at New Year’s Day, 2016. Now, I know.
New Year’s Day has always been my favorite holiday. It’s the day I get to sit down for my annual review with The Big Boss (ME!) to determine what I did well and right this year, where I could do better next year, which boxes I’ve ticked on the journey toward my dreams, and which ones will need to be ticked for next year. It’s serious work, no doubt! But, I find it great fun. It’s like the one time of year I can truly nerd out on my Grand Master Plan and no one thinks I’m being crazy.
This year is no different, but it fills my heart with an even hotter, white light of joy than I have experienced in the past. It is 2016, and we have arrived into the year that begins a whole new journey in the most literal sense. We will cast off into so many unknowns, tropical beaches, ocean passages, and a testing of ourselves that I expect will surpass in both difficulty and reward, anything we have ever tried to do to date. I am vibrating with excitement, fear, and a tinge of sadness for the life on land I hold so dear.
Thus, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day seem a sensible time to employ that most necessary of human activities: ritual. I spend my New Year in meditations of gratitude, feasting, and celebration with family and friends, and also time in quiet to hear the whisperings of my heart and the Universe.
Andrew and I have a standing tradition that helps us ring in the New Year: The Oddgodfrey New Year’s Eve Crab Crack. The inaugural Crab Crack began in the presence of our closest friends, in an apartment located in the heart of Salt Lake City, circa January 1, 2005 - just a month or two before we first stepped foot onto a sailboat for the very first time. We all sat on the floor, and, with a big red bucket placed in the middle of our circle, wrestled King Crab Legs into crushed submission. We dipped the sweet white meat in butter, which of course dribbled down our chins like it always does. We washed it all down with Andrew’s favorite home brewed beer. We’ve since added furniture to our New Year’s Celebrations, but the concept remains the exact same.
We've honed our New Year’s Crab Crack to include “Make it To Midnight Irish Coffees” an official New Year champagne boozy punch, salad, sweet potatoes, Crab (of course!) and always for dessert, a Lemon Meringue Pie made of the Meyer Lemons from my tree named Mildred in Andrew’s Maternal Grandmother’s pie plate and pie recipe. We catch up with our friends, play games (this year it’s a raunchy game of Cards Against Humanity), roast marshmallows around the fire pit, and sometimes play Alde Lang Syne on my piano, Ella. At midnight, we bound out the front door to make all manner of racket, pounding on pots with wooden spoons, hooting horns and ringing bells. The last few years we have floated a tissue paper hot air lantern into the sky.
New Year’s Day, this year, we do the same thing we do every year. We relax in the garden (it’s usually wintertime pleasant in Vegas) and celebrate my father’s birthday. In a moment when it all quiets down, I take one last review my 2015 synopsis and I sketch out my plans for 2016. "What do I need to do this year to feel satisfied that I made the most of my time?" And, "What do I need to do to make my long term goals happen?" This year, I feel uneasy that I am trying to set goals in the dark. I know little to nothing of what my life might be like at sea. Better start simple with a plan to expand:
Enjoy sailing and exploring (safely) from San Diego to New Zealand (Leg 1). HAZAAHHHHHH!