I am celebrating New Year's Eve in one of my favorite places ... my "home away from home" ... Panama City Beach, Florida. We have celebrated here three years in a row. The tradition began when friends of ours invited us down to their condo for a long New Year's weekend. We fell in love with PCB and bought our first rental condo the following year. And I have become quite the beach bum. I come down here as much as I can, which is about twice as often as John gets to come because, as the saying goes, "Somebody's got to work to pay for all the fun!"
I love being here just about any time. But PCB has become my favorite place to spend New Year's Eve. It's the perfect combination of being away and being home. And I love watching the fireworks over the pier from our balcony after a delicious seafood dinner. It just doesn't get any better, in my opinion.
At this time of year I always reflect on the big changes in my life since 2002. After spending 27 years with an abusive man, I finally left for good on August 26 of that year. And ten years ago tonight I was celebrating New Year's Eve at my brother and sister-in-law's house, watching music videos and trying to look forward to the year ahead. One moment from that night is a vivid memory. And I have reflected on it every New Year's Eve since. We were watching the video of Right Now by Van Halen and the words "Right now ... Somebody's getting on with her life" flashed on the screen. That year, that somebody was me. But that somebody was scared that the life ahead of her wasn't going to be all that great. I had no idea what God's plans were for me. And it was my default mode to anticipate that God would require a long period of "proving myself" to Him before He would bless me. I had no idea that He had immediate and specific plans for me that would completely change my life in a wonderful and miraculous way. In one word: grace.
The bitter divorce dragged on for months longer than necessary because of financial games. But I met John on May 31 of 2003. And when my divorce became final on June 19, we quickly became more than friends. We were engaged in August of that same year and married in January of 2004. My life just fell into place. And it was the last thing I had anticipated on that New Year's Eve ten years ago tonight.
I know I've said all this before. None of it is new. But I will always be so thankful for John and the life God has blessed us with. I no longer view any part of my life as wasted. Everything I ever went through before I found freedom from my past life only makes me more thankful for today's blessings.
I told my dad recently that I don't care about the things I missed out on when I was young. I could tell from our conversation that he was thinking about some of the choices he'd made as a dad and how those choices had affected his family. I told him that I'm enjoying life now and I'm probably savoring a lot of small pleasures much more at this time in my life because so much was forbidden when I was young. I rarely dwell on what I missed out on in years past. I think about how blessed and happy I am right now.
Somebody is happier than she ever dreamed.
Somebody is more blessed than she could ever deserve.
Somebody is more loved than she ever thought possible.
Somebody is feeling extremely thankful for another year.
That somebody is me.