*clinks glass a few times*
Sorry, everybody. Could I have your attention, please? I promise this won’t take long.
Thank you so much for being here tonight.
I would like to propose a toast.
To my son. A big-boy kindergartener now. With two missing teeth. Even in my most-frustrated moments, when you’re behaving like a little demon spawn, I never cease to be moved by just how proud of you I am. You are loved in indescribable ways. And everything I do in this new year will, first and foremost, be rooted in my deepest desire for you to have the best life imaginable. You are my life’s finest achievement and its greatest blessing. I couldn’t love anything more. To 2014, little man.
To my ex-wife. Thank you for everything you do on behalf of our child. Thank you for all of your kindness efforts over the past several weeks. Thank you for walking the walk every day as it pertains to putting our son first. Here’s to 2014 delivering peace and healing and hope in this next chapter. You’ll always matter.
To my friends. In my very worst year, bar none, you saved my life. I may have kept breathing. Walking around. But it’d be an illusion. Because I’d be on life support. But here I am. Alive. I have glimpses of the new normal now. Hope remains. I love you, dearly. Even when it doesn’t feel like it because I’m often so bad at communicating that. I hope to give you a better effort in 2014. May the new year bring you peace where there’s conflict, hope where there’s despair, forgiveness where there’s anger, and laughter where there are tears. I truly could not live without you.
To my family. I am going to come out of this alive because I was blessed with you as my foundation. However fragmented. However dysfunctional. There has always been love. My rock. I love you.
To my fellow writers. Thank you for the joy you bring others by sharing your talents. Your words. Your souls. Thank you for teaching me new ways to think. New questions to ask. New ways to write. To engage. So much wonderful talent out there to admire. Whatever your writing goals may be, I pray that 2014 brings you that much closer to achieving them. And if this tiny, humble slice of the internet can ever help bring you closer to those goals, you need only ask. To 2014, ladies and gentlemen.
To everyone who takes a timeout from their busy lives to pay attention to what’s happening here.
You cannot know what you mean to me.
How honored I feel that people invest their time, their minds, their hearts, in some of the things that are written here.
The words living here are saturated by so many things.
And hope. Always, hope.
In my darkest days, you’ve delivered comfort and reassurance. Wisdom and encouragement. Laughter and friendship.
You make me believe, for so many reasons, that my life can matter. That I can be so much more than who and what I am.
I pray that 2014 delivers to you all that you deserve.
Healing for the broken.
Prosperity for the poor.
The fulfillment of whatever it is you set out to do in this next calendar cycle.
Every year, every month, every week, every day is another opportunity for you to experience the best thing that has ever happened to you.
Please always choose hope.
To you and me.
To the pursuit of happiness.
Happy New Year.