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It’s Gonna Be A Happy New Year….

Every passing day is another chance to turn it all around.“—- “Vanilla Sky

Happy New Year to everyone out there in the blogosphere!

Like every year, the time of year that falls between Christmas and New Year’s Day (and includes my birthday) did not go exactly as planned. Don’t get me wrong: I absolutely love the holidays. The problem is, they don’t always seem to love me back.

For the last two weeks of December 2010, I’ve been hanging out in New York and Philly, catching up with friends and family. For the most part, I only get to see everyone back home twice a year, so I typically take two two-week trips up to the Northeast: one in late December, and one in early July.

The problem with this scenario is that every single time I’m up there, there’s some extreme in the weather that makes travel (and life in general) a little less enjoyable. During my December 2009 to NYC, a Nor’easter rolled through the area, making it too cold to walk around or really go anywhere, since the wind chills were in the single digits. My aunt called me, and advised getting to Philly a few days early, or I’d be stuck in NYC for Christmas (which is not a bad place to be stuck, at all.) I got on the bus, and ended up getting home a mere three hours before a blizzard hit, dumping a foot of snow on Philadelphia, and paralyzing the city for days.

During my July 2010 visit, there was a heatwave, delivering temperatures and humidity levels that make Atlanta look like the Pacific Northwest. Although I typically deal with heat much better than I do the cold weather, and I still got around and about, a majority of my time seemed to be spent in search of water and air conditioning.

This time around, Atlanta was going through a cold spell when I left, so I figured I’d be prepared for the typical Northeastern winter climate. Not so. I spent 3 days wandering around NYC in extremely windy conditions and wind chills in the single digits. The best investment of the season? I bought myself a proper set of gloves, hat, and scarf. Winter gear that you buy in the Southeast is not the same as what you buy in the Northeast, although you think it is at the time. All my sweaters, which seemed bulky enough here, are Fall sweaters in the Northeast. Even the scarves and gloves are lighter, and don’t provide the needed insulation. There is definitely a different level of wrapping yourself up and braving the elements in NYC, and even with my more appropriate gear, I ducked into Starbucks for a hot chocolate at least 4 times a day.

Despite the cold weather, the trip was relatively pleasant, and free of hassles like ice, snow, and sleet; that is, until it came time to leave. I was set to leave on Tuesday, from NYC. On Monday, an impressive blizzard hit, dumping 10.5 inches of snow on the ground in Philly, and a more catastrophic 20.5 inches on NYC, making it the city’s 6th-largest snowstorm. Needless to say, travel on Tuesday did not happen for me, and since I preferred not to spend my birthday potentially stuck (along with thousands of other travelers), I elected to reschedule for Thursday.

I finally made it back to Atlanta, tired and cranky and starving, early Friday afternoon. After two hours of sleep, I was up and ready to celebrate NYE with a few friends— and a lot of strangers—- at Aqua Blue, a restaurant and martini bar I love in Roswell.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite what I expected. The crowd was older, and I turned out to not know more than 10 people in the room. Aqua Blue was woefully understaffed, with two or three bartenders for a crowd of 225+ people. We had to wait over 20 minutes for drinks, and two hours before we snagged two seats at the bar. They did provide complimentary champagne and NYE party favours, as advertised, but we had to repeatedly ask for both. The Guy I Am Currently Dating and I had the good sense to have dinner before hitting the restaurant, so we chose a rather low-key, inexpensive Mexican place that was all but deserted. In retrospect, I might have had a better time with a crowd of 20 of my friends, ringing in the New Year with chips and margaritas.

I can’t complain too much; I was exhausted, suffering from a cold, and would have been cranky anywhere, and as an organizer of the event, we got complimentary admission (generally worth it on NYE in just about any city.). It simply wasn’t my vibe; more like a singles’ bar for the 40-plus crowd than an upscale event. Next year, I’m thinking I’m going to either plan something that is a little more my scene, or go all out and attend one of the formal galas in the area, since I generally enjoy that kind of stuff. Nevertheless, ringing in the New Year with those important to you is fun, no matter where you do it, so I was thrilled to have made it back to ATL for 2011. Some of my friends, unfortunately, were still stuck in airports around the country, so much is to be said for being where you want to be, when you want to be there.

New Year’s Day is always a positive day for me; the feeling of a clean slate, and new possibilities is energising, and something I enjoy. Even the rain, which I like in small doses, is providing a restful backdrop for the day. I don’t necessarily make resolutions, but I do make a list on things I’d like to work on, experience, or accomplish during the next year. I try to make them as realistic as possible, so as not to feel defeated by January 2nd.

One of them is pretty appropriate to mention here: working on this blog! I’ve missed being a part of the blogging world, and even if nobody ever reads me (which I kind of hope they don’t…*lol*), it gives me a sense of peace and contentment to throw myself out there into the virtual world.

Other resolutions? Losing weight, and living a little healthier top the list, and I’d actually made some progress on that (significantly reducing my Coke/caffeine habit, and adding water to my diet, as well as exercising a few days a week) which yielded results fairly quickly: I lost almost 9 pounds over a month’s time, without giving up too much. Unfortunately, like most people, I fell off the wagon over the holidays, and gained back 6 in a little over two weeks—more than a little disheartening.

I’m also resolving to put a sense of fun in my life, and to reclaim some of my adventurousness and free-spiritedness. Many of my 2010 resolutions focused on gaining more stability, and while I’ve done that, I’ve also gained a tendency to take everything a bit too seriously, to avoid taking chances, and to plan my life months in advance. I do know this is what most adults do, but it’s left me feeling constrained, and unlike myself. I’m hoping to kind of recapture a sense of the younger, more irrepressible me, without allowing my tendency to overindulge in all of the Seven Deadly Sins to take over my life. *laughs*

I’ve written a few blogs during my travels, so stay tuned for posts over the next few days. A Happy New Year to all of you, wherever you are!:)

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