Ringing in the New Year felt very different this time around.
Throughout 2019, which was a more chaotic than usual kind of year, it became a running joke with my sister when we asked each other “How are you?” We would jokingly reply “Just happy to be here!”
We said this a lot at Disneyland as that day trip was a super last minute decision, it took a moment to recognize we finally made it. Thanks to our spontaneity (and a very chatty Uber driver), we had zero time to think about what we wanted to do once we arrived. We didn’t have time to build up an expectation or an idealized image of what we would do, what rides we wanted to go on, or if there’d be any decent vegan options aside from Dole Whip. We were genuinely just happy to be there, with each other, and our half a dozen cameras.
This joke caught on with the whole family during our road trip when I moved home from California this summer. We all carpooled together and made our way state by state experiencing various levels of accommodations, some more accommodating than others, and despite circumstances we were all just happy to be there.
Flash forward four months, it’s December 31st 2019, New Years Eve, and my family had our plans to stay in for the night, make a nice dinner together and watch the ball drop.
10:37am I hear my mom yell from the other room “Call 911!”
My dad collapsed and was not responsive.
Some minutes later, he was conscious but had no memory of what happened and EMS had arrived. He went to the hospital by ambulance and we followed behind.
In those moments of panic, I saw my entire life going differently. I saw navigating a life without my dad and what that would be like. You don’t realize how quickly your mind can filter through thoughts and memories until tested.
We spent New Years Eve in the hospital, wearing surgical masks, decorating the room with a DIY Happy New Year sign held up with band-aids and cheers-ing with grape juice in plastic cups. The hospital staff said they felt sorry for us to be spending the special occasion in the hospital, we didn’t though. We were just happy to there, to have my dad here, all together and safe. I feel so fortunate to say that my dad fully recovered and has no serious health issues to be concerned about.
So much is happening in our world and society that it’s hard to believe we are less than two months into the year. Normally each January I write a post of my resolutions and goals for the year, but at the time I couldn’t come up with anything that seemed important enough. Then it hit me, I am just happy to be here. To have my family here and healthy. To have a great tribe of friends. So instead of focusing on doing more, achieving more, making more goals, I think I’ll focus on the gratitude for just being here. Being content. Being with the people I love.
So, Hello, 2020! Happy to see you & I am just happy to be here!