“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.” –Louisa May Alcott

Isn’t it beautiful? A fresh, shiny New Year, filled with so many hopes and dreams and wonderful plans. Anne Shirley, in “Anne of Green Gables” says “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” That’s always how I feel about the New Year. Ready to learn and dream and change and make mistakes and apologize and enjoy the company of those I like best. With a new year, I can create the vision of my life that I most wish to see. Of course, I can do this every day, but having a whole new year spread out in front of me is just exhilarating.

I’m very big on New Year’s resolutions. Over the past couple of years, I’ve sort of missed my mark. Three years ago, I was going to learn to knit. Instead, I worked on the same potholder I started when I was nine. Two years ago, I was going to master the Rubik’s cube. I didn’t care if it took all 365 days, on December 31, those squares were all going to match up. However, I didn’t even buy a cube. Last year, I was going to learn to French braid hair. I got closer-I found friends who know how. This year, I don’t think I’m going to start a big project. I think college is a big enough project. Although I might buy a Rubik’s cube, just for kicks.

Change, though. Change I might do. Not major change, just adjustments. I’m eighteen years old and I like the person I’ve become. That doesn’t mean I’m perfect. I’ll never be perfect, not even on the last day of my life. I was watching “Northern Exposure” with my family this evening, and the blind piano tuner had left the D above middle C flat. Shocker, you might say, if you play piano. When he was questioned about this, he made an elaborate analogy to the Persian rug makers of old. A rug would take several years to complete, and thousands of knots were tied to craft a beautiful, unique work of art. However, one of those knots was tied incorrectly, so that the rug, however beautiful, would be imperfect. Well, of the thousands of knots, and the eighty-eight keys, of everything that makes up my life, one or two or ten keys will be flat or sharp, and a couple hundred of my knots will probably be tied wrong. Imperfection can be beautiful. If I embrace my imperfections, I’ll unconsciously make the adjustments to perfect them. And then, I can become the person the Creator made me to become. George Bernard Shaw, in his infinite wisdom, said “Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.” I believe the wondrous being created me and set me out in the world to learn and stumble and grow and with the Creator’s loving hand guiding me, become molded into the woman I was born to become. Way deep down, in my inmost sacred center, she is becoming more visible every day and I know that in 2009, I’ll get to know her even more.

I’ve already made some changes for this delightful year. On Tuesday, I got a haircut. This may not sound like headline news, but it is major. I have had long hair for as long as I can remember. Not super long, like Sibyl or Sister Cartwheel, but long enough. I look at my pictures from prom, probably the last time I wore my hair down for any substantial period of time, and it was almost to my elbow. Even though I always wore it in a ponytail or a pencil-skewered knot, I liked knowing it was there, if I felt like doing something different. But on Tuesday, the kindly Scissorhand chopped off five or six inches, parted it on the right side and gave me face-framing something or other. And I LOVE IT. Which surprised me. I don’t know if I’ll keep it this way once it starts growing out, but I’m glad I have something a little more tamed–and less dangerous–than the knot. The other changes may take a little bit longer, but I know they’ll be just as worthwhile.

Around this time of year, I always read Little Women. I read it for the first time at Christmas when I was either eleven or twelve, I’m not sure which one for certain. I do know that it made me laugh, it made me cry, and it assured me that I was living in the wrong century. I wanted to go back 140 years and become best friends with the March sisters, or at least their real-life counterparts, the Alcotts. It also helped me realize the sort of woman I wished to become. The lessons are so beautiful and so timeless. The goals for which the Marches strive are always relevant. Marmee’s words of wisdom are so true that I have to agree with Jo when she remarks, “What do girls do who haven’t any mothers to help them through their troubles?” My own mother, although she hasn’t finished the book, has so many such words. They may not always be as eloquent, but they are just as true and heartfelt. My Marmee’s one liners, such as “Character building usually sucks”  and “only boring people are bored” is just as pertinent as my favorite piece of advice from Marmee March: “Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well.  Then youth will be delightful, old age will bring few regrets, and life become a beautiful success, in spite of poverty.” I cannot count the times my own mother has said something so similar.

The ideals of Little Women are lovely in every sense of the word. They are eloquent, faith-filled, and thought-provoking. Reading Little Women always makes me feel like a better person. When I finish the book each year, I know that I can spend the next year making each day “useful and pleasant”, and become a more  useful, patient, caring, humble, contented individual, who does not hesitate to turn to the Creator as to a friend. Each year, I become more determined and encouraged to become a little woman all grown up in my own right. My castles in the air become more discernible, and can appreciate Jo’s sentiment of “wouldn’t it be fun if all the castles in the air which we make could come true and we could live in them?” In Louisa May Alcott’s words, “I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.” When I finish this year’s reading, I know that will feel confident I can take whatever comes and paddle my own canoe, with the love and guidance of all those around me.

This new year brings so many things I can only imagine. What an adventure.

Happy happy New Year. Many gifts and blessings. “We all have out own life to pursue, our own kind of dream to be weaving…and we all have the power to make wishes come true, as long as we keep believing.” –Louisa May Alcott

Pursuing life to the fullest,

Susannah

“Life is my college. May I graduate well, and earn some honors!” -Louisa May Alcott

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2 thoughts on ““Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.” –Louisa May Alcott

  1. Pingback: The Little Women Rules « Letters from Hannah

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