A thank-you letter for the New Year (or, This post goes out to the ones I love)

Dear everyone in my life,

I didn't do Christmas cards this year. In fact, I haven't done them for a few years 1) because I haven't had time to make them really thoughtful, and 2) I sorta don't have all your address. (So I've rectified this situation by avoiding the issue altogether. Brilliant!)

But as well-wishes came in from loved ones this holiday season, via card or e-mail or Tweet or Facebook, I remembered what makes notes so affirming. People were thinking of me, appreciating me, praying for me, and taking a moment to reflect on where our unique relationship stands at this moment in the space-time continuum.

Which meant that amid this year's rapid change, upheaval, turmoil, and progress (for everyone), you helped me refocus on what keeps me -- indeed, all of us -- going day in, day out.

So since you shamed reminded me, I wanted to make the most of a particularly reflective New Year's Eve, and return the favor to you -- the people who thread their lives with others' because you know it makes us all stronger in the end.

TO MY IMMEDIATE FAMILY: You know my voice better than anyone. Thank you for giving me the security to use it freely. For even as the wider world gets to know me, I will always be brightest with you.

TO MY EXTENDED FAMILY: Yes, we're a bit frenzied at times. But it's a welcoming hubbub born of love, interest, care, concern, and an unspoken belief that yes, blood really is thicker than water. So I'm not complaining. I'm just buying ear plugs.

TO MY OLDEST FRIENDS: I count you as blood, too. We've seen each other through big bangs and glasses and braces and school and first jobs and triumph and heartbreak and aggravation and change, lots and lots of change. Mainly the big bangs, though. Which is why I'm not letting ANY of you out of my sight.

TO MY NEWEST FRIENDS: Oh boy, are you in for a ride! I'm relatively low-maintenance, I swear. And no, I am not faux-maintenance. Stick with me, and you'll get a lot of hugs and free meals. And I in turn get to grow alongside your excellent self. Can't beat that!

TO MY MENTORS: Some of you know who you are. Others may not. But together, you're the noisy bunch in the corner who keep telling me to write till I'm published (and then keep going); to lay the groundwork for future success without sacrificing the present; and to make and learn from my own mistakes. Stay noisy, please -- I need it.

TO MY SOCIAL MEDIA MAVENS (bloggers, Twitterers, Facebook friends, FriendFeed followers, etc.): I can connect faces and voices with some of you. Yet the majority of you I've met only through words and pictures on a screen. How is it then that I know your voices and missions so well, and would not think twice about grabbing coffee with you based on nothing more than 140 characters a couple times a day? Thank you for guiding me through the newest communications, and reinforcing that the fundamentals of community and connection are unchangeable, no matter the medium.

And last but faaaaaaaaaaaaaar from least ...

TO MY READERS: I'm going to let you in on a little secret -- I started this blog back up in earnest to force myself to write every day. I continue this blog because it struck a chord with you, and you were kind enough to let me know it. Please, keep the feedback coming -- we've only just begun!

Now go get some champagne and welcome 2009 with bubbles on your lips! I can think of no better way to welcome happier times. And again ... thank you. :)

Photo by rustman