Cheers to a New Year and fresh polish

1-Lomogram_2012-12-29_10-30-19-PM There's something strangely gratifying about giving yourself a pedicure. A few nights ago I had a self-declared "spa night at home". After several days of sore achy muscles from re-starting an exercise program I never should have stopped, I took myself upstairs to draw a hot bath in which I would soak, reading, until the water was almost cold. The water in the tub glistened a deep aqua hue from the bath bomb I was gifted for Christmas by my mother-in-law. I could feel my skin drinking up the moisture and my fingers and toes turning into raisins.

When I finished my book, I stepped out of the bath and dried off, wrapping myself in warm, cozy jammies before clipping and filing my toenails in preparation for the polish. I picked out a spunky, bright pink, gathered up my journal, laptop and ipad to retreat to my favorite writing spot: the guest room.

As I swiped the layers of paint onto my nails, indie pop music playing softly from my Pandora station, so many thoughts moved through my head about the coming year and the year that is about to come to a close. I've decided that I no longer want to look back. Not in the sense of not remembering and learning from my past, but rather, I want to live each day to the fullest and I want to be sure to enjoy the simple everyday moments.

These two theories conflict each other, for me at least. To me, living life to the fullest means doing great things, making an impact on the world, being remembered for making a difference in the lives of a large number of people. And my idea of enjoying the simple things, the little moments of life, means to really savor the impromptu tickle-attacks you have with your four and two-year-olds in the family room while their father watches on, smiling in the kitchen while making dinner, as I did this evening.

Many people would probably argue that you can most certainly have both, but I wonder if it's really possible.

Back to the pedicure. I always cut my toenails too short. They look funny for about two weeks until they get back to their natural-looking length, but I do this because they always grow too fast. This buys me a couple of extra weeks between pedicures. Since I've adopted this new "not looking back" attitude (as of tonight, I've decided), I'm starting to think about each day as a mini new beginning. It's like my toenail clipping style - I'm giving myself room to grow each day. If at the end of the day I wish I'd have done something differently, then I'm going to cut myself some slack and realize that tomorrow is a new day to grow, learning from mistakes which are now in the past.

The sticky, clear base coat went onto my toes first. It's so important because it helps protect the nail from dark pigments which could sink into the pores of the nail surface, staining it so unnecessarily. I've skipped this step in the past and have always regretted it later when taking off the old polish. There's nothing pretty about yellowed toenails. The base coat is the investment you make into your life, since we are comparing life to a pedicure. For me, I want to pour more energy into growing my relationship with my faith, my husband and kids, and my family and friends. If we forget to do this important step, we'll regret it later. I don't want to have any regrets in life. Never forget the base coat.

I painted carefully as I brushed on the color. The paint is what lets my personality show through. Whether I choose a soft, romantic ballet pink, a deep currant shade or a shimmery bright red polish, I always know that it's not permanent. I can remove a color and apply a new one whenever my mood shifts. It's how I view the way I evolve as a person - by outgrowing a shell and moving on to a new one, yet sometimes returning to my favorite colors, my inherent personality traits which will always be there. My true colors which make me who I am.

The final step is quite possibly the most important. The dry fast top coat is my favorite step in the process since I get to coat my nails in a shiny, protective layer of lacquer. Protection is the key here. Just as I finish my pedicure with a protective top coat, I'm going to be sure in this coming year to protect what is most important to me: my family, my friends, and my faith. I'm going to make more of an effort to keep in touch with my friends who may not live nearby, because life is so uncertain. Tomorrow isn't a given. I'm going to call more often, write more often, and plan more visits. I'm going to be more protective of the people who mean the most to me so they will shine like my top coat.

We're celebrating New Year's with friends of ours and all of our kids tonight. I can't imagine a better way to ring in the New Year. We'll have all the kiddos tucked in a few hours before the ball drops, then us adults will be enjoying some cocktails, an elegant sit-down meal, and a midnight champagne toast.

I painted my fingernails this morning to get ready to celebrate.

Cheers & Happy New Year!