Don’t Look Back, Don’t Look Ahead

This evening, I will spend plenty of time looking back at 2013 and looking ahead to 2014, as my husband and I carry out our New Year’s Day tradition.

Since Ian is a musician he almost always has a gig to play on New Year’s Eve, so we’ve made January 1st our day to celebrate together. We bust out the crystal champagne glasses we received for our wedding nearly 13 years ago, and pop the cork on a bottle.

With each sip of bubbly we take turns making toasts to a memories of people and events that were important to us in the past year. We usually finish off the bottle with some wishes and promises for the next year, then mark the cork with the date and add it to our collection.

Sometimes it’s hard to decide what to resolve to do differently in the coming year. But a few nights ago, a moment of clarity revealed EXACTLY what my New Year’s vow will be for 2014.

I was at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre, watching my friend Jill Kelly transform into a passionate, angry, gorgeous Italian diva in a production of “Lend Me a Tenor.”

Seeing my sweet, tenderhearted friend in such an altered state – with flames leaping from her eyes as she shouted at her opera star husband “You a-STUPID! I a-going to KEEL you!!” – was worth the price of admission. But I was also swept away by the great comedic timing of all the actors popping in and out of doors at a breathless pace as mistaken identity gags created crazy plot twists. The show was a hilarious, magnificent escape.

There was a surprise moment toward the end of the show, though, when I stopped laughing for a moment and found my eyes welling up. The main character, Max, who had been posing as opera star Tito Merelli, said: “There are some, few moments when we don’t look back, and we don’t look ahead. And for that one moment, we have music.”

“That’s exactly it!” I thought. “Those are the moments I need more of.”

These moments can only happen when I’m not worrying about how to get someone to practice on time, or the next project I need to complete at work, or the thing I said to my husband that I regret, or the carpet that needs to be cleaned.

They happen when time stops mattering.

They happen when I am in the theatre, either on stage or in the audience…

When I am deep into a bedtime story or singing at the piano with my daughters…

When my son is on the pitcher’s mound and my entire being is locked into the ball leaving his hand…

When Ian and I seize a moment and get lost in conversation over Italian food and wine…

When our house fills with friends and food and drinks and laughter, and time stands still.

In those moments, there is just music.

This is my toast to 2014: Here’s to more moments where I don’t look back, and I don’t look ahead – and we have music.

(To find out more about “Lend Me a Tenor,” follow this link:

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