This day always brings back memories. Many, many years ago (I won’t reveal just how many!), I had the very best New Year’s Eve date ever. It set the bar quite high and I’ve never had a better time on this day. I was in high school and dating a guy who had a couple of good friends. We always went out with them and their girlfriends. That New Year’s Eve, we attended a dance at a fire hall. Sounds hokey but back then, and for being as young as I was, it was magical. The place was decorated with streamers and there was a live band.  We danced, we ate, and we enjoyed each other’s company. There was no alcohol because we were underage and that group of people just wasn’t into getting drunk.  We had fun without it. Maybe that night was also so memorable because I was in love and it was the first date I ever had on New Year’s Eve.

Nine months later, I broke up with that young man. I wanted freedom. I saw all of my friends going out together and having a great time. I guess I was too young to be tied down to a boyfriend. I cried for days after I ended it with him because I really did care for him. He was a wonderful person and treated me well. He set the bar high for boyfriends. So not only did I have high expectations for New Year’s Eve established at a very young age, I also had the same high standards for men. Yet I gave all of that up for my freedom.

As I reflect back on the past year and on my life which we often do on the last day of the year, I see the price I paid for my freedom so many years ago. Who knows, I may have had many more memorable New Year’s Eves with that same boyfriend.  I’ve never forgotten him and wonder what might have been.

I’ve made other choices in my life so that I could have freedom. I had to do it, my soul was guiding me and I would not have rested unless I choose freedom.  I know that we can’t look back and second guess these choices. But there’s just something about New Year’s Eve that sparks reminiscing. Maybe it’s the lyrics to Auld Lang Syne – “Should old acquaintance be forgot and never  brought to mind? “  Or maybe it’s the way we deal with closure. The end of a year, the beginning of a new cycle.

Freedom seems to be a theme throughout my life. Maybe that’s why the plight of puppy mill breeder dogs affects me so deeply. They have no freedom. The thought of them being stuck in a cage with no opportunity for release makes me cringe and hurts in places I didn’t know existed. We all have choices and can choose freedom, but they cannot.

I am hoping that my choices over the years, where my soul has guided me, will make a difference for the animals. They were not easy choices and the path has been difficult, but nothing worthwhile is easy.

Happy New Year to all of you, and I wish for everyone to be able to listen to their hearts and follow their dreams.