Normally when the clock strikes midnight and we usher in a new year, things don’t feel all that different. Most years, there is little change. Tomorrow will look like yesterday. Next Christmas will look like this past Christmas. And so forth, and so on.
2018 is going to be the exception.
Because the moment the ball dropped in Times Square and the television was plastered with images of swirling confetti and Mariah Carey beaming triumphantly – hey, she didn’t screw up this year! – I kissed Tara, wished her a happy 2018, and said, “Holy shit. Our whole lives are changing this year!” And then I remarked that Mariah Carey must be awfully cold in that skimpy outfit of hers, but by then I’d made my point.
When the ball drops in Times Square in another 364 days, everything will be different for us.
This impending move has always felt far off and distant. Unreal, almost. Like it was something that involved two other people, characters in a novel perhaps, packing up stakes and heading to the midwest for an adventurous new start. A plunge off an abyss into the great unknown. But this morning, boy does it suddenly feel real. Very “in your face.” We can no longer say this is happening next year. It’s this year, baby. My countdown timer tells me it’s 180 days away. More so than ever before, the turning of the calendar page coincides with the feeling that we have turned a corner. I know it’s all psychological, of course. Today we are physically only one day closer to leaving than we were yesterday. But it sure feels a lot nearer all of a sudden.
Shit just got real, yo.
But bring it on! I am ready. This morning my uncle Tom commented on Facebook, “It’s -6 in Rapid City this morning.” My reply? “I know! Nice and brisk!” I mean, what else can I say? The cold doesn’t scare me. Half the country is mired in a deep freeze anyway. Besides, the days are already growing longer now. Spring is coming, and once that season is over and done with, so are we.
That ticking clock grows louder with each passing second.
We spent the final day of 2017 hiking in Silver Falls State Park, about a 90-minute drive to the south. It was a chilly, foggy day, with lots of mist and drizzle, but that didn’t stop us from hiking 4.5 miles and seeing half a dozen waterfalls. It’s a beautiful park and was on our farewell tour list, so that’s one more item to cross off.
Then we caught the most gorgeous sunset just as we were leaving; it lit up the whole sky in vibrant shades of pink, orange, red, and gold. If that was 2017’s last hurrah, it was a doozy.
We detoured into Portland to pick up Chinese food on our way home, but the restaurant was packed and they didn’t put any sizzling rice in our sizzling rice soup, a fact we did not discover until we got home. To her credit, Tara did not say “I told you so,” even though she asked me to check our order when they handed me the paper to-go bag and I confidently said, “Feels like it’s all there, babe!” As if rice has any heft to it whatsoever.
Reminds me of an incident in high school where I ordered a hamburger from the cafeteria and discovered, upon setting my tray down, that the lunch lady had given me a bun but no meat. I was a bit shy back then, so rather than letting her know my burger was burger-less, I simply squirted a little extra ketchup onto the bun and pretended I was vegetarian for one hour. True story.
But I digress.
The rest of the evening was spent listening to records and playing cards. We didn’t get nearly as wild as I thought we would, and Tara kept nodding off, exhausted after our hike. We managed to make it to the aforementioned ball drop and then called it a night.
The remainder of the holiday weekend is sort of a blur. We went out to brunch, hit a couple of record stores and added some great albums to our collection, went to Shanahan’s. Not all on the same day. Oh, we packed up all the Christmas decorations and put them back in the garage. It was a little strange, driving through Silverton, Oregon yesterday and seeing all these houses with lights on and Christmas trees still displayed in the windows. I told Tara when we have a house of our own, I might be more inclined to keep the decorations up longer.
That house, by the way? It’s possible we could be sitting inside it one year from now. You never know.
May all your wishes come true in 2018.