After midnight

“You’re lucky,” he once said. “You get to start all over again. I wish I had that chance.”

I pondered that statement for a bit, slightly surprised, unable to meet his eyes.

After a long silence, this was the best I could come up with, “There’s no starting over. Not really. Not for me, anyway.”

“True,” he conceded, with that grudging half-shrug and slight smirk I’d become accustomed to.

Photo: Marcus Mark Ramos/Channel NewsAsia
Photo: Marcus Mark Ramos/Channel NewsAsia

It has been 16 days since the clock struck 12 and a brand new year started.

After midnight. The fascination humankind has with the new is rather interesting. We long for second and seventeenth chances; we put our faith in a moment at the stroke of midnight.

A new year looms and some things stay the same. I like to think it’s good to have it both ways – that we can look forward to both constants and change. We have a foundation to stand on and the opportunity to be whisked away in an instant, if we let it.

A new year brings new hopes and dreams, or perhaps these have been rolled over from years past. I’m not naive enough to believe that everything in 2014 will be wiped away; on the contrary my prayer is that we take what we need from last year. The lessons, and the strength drawn from good times.

Is a blank slate ever possible?

As much as our pasts never quite leave us, I like to think it is okay to give ourselves permission to walk away. Untether yourself from the memories. Know that the process is not linear – a bit of back and forth is okay.

Choosing to live in the past, on the other hand, is not.

This is life’s great conundrum, I think – if life won’t give us a brand new slate, are we willing to carve one out for ourselves? Are we willing to believe that we can be made new and whole in spite of our shortcomings and brokenness?

Perhaps – two weeks into a new year – it is time to step out of the shadows we create. Our everyday is filled with darkness – maybe we need to find a way to defy despondency and be the light. Choose to live. Choose joy. Choose life. Especially when it’s hard.

You never know if someone else might need to see you live it, just so they can make it to the end of the year.


Hope is a four-letter word that seems to diminish as we grow older. As children we are hopeful, and some call that naive; but hope is a powerful thing.

This year, I hope I remember that life is short and I should never take anything for granted.

That the seasons change, and life will make a way.

That it’s the simple things that really matter.

And, if I’m still looking for a clean slate, then I hope to always believe in the light.

What are you hoping for this year? I’ll hope with you.


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