New Year’s Eve is a strange day. It’s a day of preparing, of wanting, and of waiting and as that waiting goes on, and the body and mind fill with nervous energy you grow anxious, impatient, and quite feverishly, hopeful. You are simultaneously excited to leave the last 12 months behind and terrified to begin the next.

There are many hours left still before the end will come and the new beginning arrives finally. Here we are keeping our celebrations quiet and, most importantly, safe.

We aren’t marking the day as we usually do: with family or friends, drinking and partying. It’s just my wife and I softly ringing in the new year together and considering how much we’ve been through in these last many months, I couldn’t think of any way or with anyone I’d rather celebrate.

I’m practicing a lot of self-reflection and managing my expectations of what 2021 will bring. I remember New Year’s Eve before the start of 2020 I thought I was about to enter the a time of great joy and productivity. I imagined so many successes and experiences, and within months I the whole world was turned upside down.

I have no such expectations of 2021. I do not even believe it will be a better year than this last. All I hope for is that I will be better at coping with pain, disappointment, change, loss, and anger. I hope I will find ways to make the best of whatever I have and wherever I am. I hope to endure better, and that is all.

I spent the morning at the motor vehicle office with my wife, trying to complete step two of our name change before the new year is set to begin. We’d hoped for a day like yesterday at the social security office, exciting and easy, but this was entirely the opposite. We both encountered troubling issues and only one of us walked away with the name change applied. My wife will have to go back Friday and hope everything is cleared up by then.

Afterward, we set about the business of marking the last day of the year. Weeks ago we talked about going out tonight but our group of friends are in a delicate state right now and the world hasn’t felt very safe in general these past few days. It’s going to be bitter cold, we’re both over 30 and not as quick to recover as we once were, and to be honest not many events felt worth the expense so we’re staying in.

So instead we bought copious amounts of indulgent and delicious foods. We have a large spread of snacks, andouille sausage, crab legs, corn and potatoes for dinner, a bottle of white wine, some syrupy amaretto to sip, and two perfect little cakes for dessert.

I had thought I would spend the day reflecting on the past year, but I’ve done so much of that in the last 30 days that there is nothing else left to go over. This day feels outside of the calendar entirely now, not a part of 2019 but not yet 2020 either. Today is a day for waiting, a single breath taken before the beginning of a new journey. I’m ready to let go.

I only hope I can make it to midnight to kiss my wife and tell her I love her for the 18th New Year’s Day in a row.