On any given day if you were to ask me my favorite month I would probably tell you October. I'm a fall baby who always loved the color and crispness of an October afternoon. I love the way a gentle breeze tangos with my hair as the scent of a distant fireplace begs for a reprieve and a warm cider. Spring's renewal can't take hold without the ritual autumnal slumber. And in between comes January. This month of rebirth was given its status by papal decree in the 16th century, named for Janus, the Roman god of gates (or beginnings and endings). This January marks the end of the first decade of the third millennium of the common era; a time of great upheaval in my life. In the last ten years I've made a lot of money and I have lost a lot of money. I've moved from DC to NY to San Francisco to DC to NY and back to DC, with some short-term international moves thrown in there for good measure. I've started new companies and closed them down. I've known loss on a scale most could not imagine. But in this perdition I have known the generosity of friends to an extent so profound that they may never know how truly appreciative I am for their support.
Over the last several years, the size of my family shrunk greatly, but those of us who remain are forging tighter bonds. I just returned from a long trip to Seattle to visit my aunt, and cousins where I was able do do something I haven't done since before the start of the last decade: I played in the snow with the reckless abandon of a 10-year-old. Bumps and bruises be damned! Even on the short icy hills of Leavenworth, I let go of my formal persona to pursue unadulterated bliss. As an almost-30-year-old though, the bumps were harder and the bruises were bigger than 20 years ago.
On the third day of my trip, we went to a tubing hill near "downtown" Leavenworth. Few things in life compare to the exhilaration of a speedy decent down a snow-covered mountain in a rubber tube. Near the main hill, there were several people scooting down an unofficially-sanctioned icy shoot forged from the repeated slide of smooth bums and nervous feet. (The owners wouldn't let us use our own sleds on their property.) Ever-wary of my lack of health insurance, I was careful not to deliberately put myself in a position of peril. However, three times a pretty young girl (about 16 or 17) seemed to "accidentally" nearly crash into me at the bottom of the hill. Her timing became increasingly suspect by the third go 'round, but I thankfully avoided undue awkwardness each time. How fruitless her endeavors at spontaneous love were, not even because I am twice her age. But this affection provided a healthy and needed boost to my ego. Maybe it's this Zac Efron-esque thing I have going on with my hair now. Who knows?
My snow adventures were all the more spectacular because I was creating memories with my family that will last a lifetime. I have long preferred to ring in the new year quietly with family, and although this year wasn't as quiet as I had imagined--what with the fierce game of Phase 10 happening in the living room—I spent it with my family and a diverse group of crazy canines.
I carry with me the souvenir of friendship and love into this new year as I embark on my next great adventure. Ever the optimist, I know 2010 has great things in store for us all. Just don't forget to stop and play in the snow.