When I was nine, my parents had a New Years Eve party. It was just for their Cousin’s Club. The club was made up of my parents second cousins. It was how they all stayed in touch after prosperity for many of them, allowed the all moved to Westchester or Rockland counties and one or two even, out to New Jersey.
That night, as they laughed and drank, I listened to their talk of what they hoped for in the new year, 1970. The new decade. One voice cut in and said, “What I can’t believe is how it seems so sudden, that it’s here.”
I heard my father ask, “what’s, so sudden, Sue?”
The pause hung there, and I sat up in my bed to get closer to her answer.
“You know, our future. Remember how we used to say we have so much time?”
Her words seemed to quiet the festivities. I pictured everyone turning to her, to wait for more of what she had to say.
“You know Moe, whenever we were told ‘you have your whole future ahead of you’. Our future is here, we are living it right now. We’ve become the grownups.”
The silence grew, someone cleared their throat.
“Sue, why so melancholy all of sudden?” dad asked.
“This is my future, and it’s not what I thought it would be. I didn’t become the artist, or go to Paris. I didn’t do any of the things I wanted to do.” I hear her sniffle and then someone put a record on and the room grew loud again.
I sat in my bed for a long time thinking about cousin Sue’s words. She seemed so sad, lost, and lonely in a room full of people.
Fast forward forty years, New Years Eve, 2010. As fireworks exploded over my house, set off from the bottom of my driveway, I thought of Sue and vowed to get off the couch and live more deeply. Live more graciously. Show my gratitude to my family, to my friends, and to my community.
2011 is bursting with potential. I’m stepping into it with gratitude for all I have, my future is now.