Hope and sadness.
Since I was young, these are the two feelings I’ve associated most strongly with New Year’s Eve.
I’d long for the tingly, full-body warmth that comes with the end of the year countdown. The giddy anticipation. The feeling that everything ahead was so full of promise—that I was stepping into a sea of opportunities, all lined up for my greatest good.
But as soon as I’d yell “Happy New Year,” throw back some champagne, and pull whoever was closest to me in for a hug, I’d burst into tears. Because as much hope as there was in front of me, there was equal parts sadness (and regret and longing and heaviness) behind me. And in that moment, I’d feel like I was processing all the loss and disappointment and grief that had filled the prior year.
There is no other day in the year that leaves me feeling as full of messy human emotions as New Year’s Eve. I grapple with the light and the heavy. The gratitude and the sorrow. The wonder and the weariness.
The hope and the sadness that come from a continuous cycle of endings and new beginnings. (Or maybe a better way to describe it is hopeful sadness.)
So, to celebrate the beauty that comes from closing one door and opening another, here are 11 quotes to prepare our heads and our hearts for a new year:
“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” ~ Zora Neale Hurston
“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering ‘it will be happier’…” ~ Alfred Lord Tennyson
“The priceless lesson in the New Year is that endings birth beginnings and beginnings birth endings. And in this elegantly choreographed dance of life, neither ever find an end in the other.” ~ Craig D. Lounsbrough
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice.” ~ T.S. Eliot
“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art—write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.” ~ Neil Gaiman
“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
“And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
“On New Year’s Eve the whole world celebrates the fact that a date changes. Let us celebrate the dates on which we change the world.” ~ Akilnathan Logeswaran
“A year of ending and beginning, a year of loss and finding…and all of you were with me through the storm. I drink to your health, your wealth, your fortune for long years to come, and I hope for many more days in which we can gather like this.” ~ C.J. Cherryh
“Let our New Year’s resolution be this: We will be there for one another as fellow members of humanity, in the finest sense of the word.” ~ Göran Persson
“You can get excited about the future. The past won’t mind.” ~ Hillary DePiano