(You can find directions for this craft here.)

This is how I think of the new. No fingerprints, yet. Clean, fresh, unmarked, unblemished, untarnished. Waiting.

I’m not that comfortable with the new, if I’m truthful about it. I don’t really like driving a new car (what if I bang it?) or getting a new hair style (what if I hate it?) or buying new stuff (what if I find it on sale tomorrow?).

Yes, new intimidates me a little. Even a new year. I’m a little anxious about the inevitable unknowns: the dents, the scrapes, the bumps that will mar the shiny surfaces of the yet-to-be-lived-in space. The living, sweet and sad, that will leave marks all over the fresh. I know I’m going to make some messes and get things a little dirty.

I’m more comfortable with the lived-in than the shiny. The mess is easier to hide.

I think back on what is now the old, and it is a cozy blanket I wrap around my shoulders as I contemplate the sterile emptiness of the new ahead. I warm myself with the memories of children and friends and challenges faced and quiet times and stormy times and sometimes dark and scary times. Past times, days that have already been walked through. Pages that have already been written and read and turned. I finger the edges of the worn quilt, the already lived, as today I contemplate the yet-to-be.

I’m tempted, looking down the road at a year ahead, to imagine the things that will fill it. To impose a bunch of this year I will do this or that’s on the time and space that is to come. To determine to make it productive. To make it count. To make it matter in some important way. To change myself for the better.

To keep things clean and shiny. To make it sparkle. To avoid the mess. Which I know I can’t do. Because I’ve already left a few smudges and the year is only a few hours old.

Maybe I will lose the weight or write the book or change the world. Or maybe I won’t. But this year, there are things that will happen. My boys will grow older, as will my husband and I. We will add pages to our stories. My mom will turn seventy in the spring, and she and my dad will celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary in June. Two nephews and a niece will graduate from high school. My husband will work to provide for all of us. I will cook and clean and write and read and encourage, as best I can, the learning of the children. These are some of the things I know will fill this year. And they matter.

It’s those unknowns, though, that I’m considering today. Those possibilities. That potential. The what if’s.

I’m reflecting today, the first of the new, on the year ahead. I’ll bet you are, too. And I’m thinking that this year, rather than New Year’s Resolutions, I will plan a story. I will plan to write the best story I can imagine living, my men and me. And I’m sure it won’t be perfect or mess-free, and the living of it will probably turn out differently than the planning of it, but I’m going to take some time this week to consider it. Would you join me, please?

Because it’s day one and I’m ready to start leaving some fingerprints.