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The Sharp Side on WEEKEND REFLECTION: Ha! Figured Out The New Name!

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Happy New Year! Or…

Happy February 1st, 2016!

This may seem like a late post, but I felt like I needed go through those first 31 days of 2016 to really realize how meaningful those three words – Happy.New.Year. – are.

When the clock hits midnight on January 1st, we cheer and toast and celebrate – some a little more than others (you know who you are, friends) – but we don’t really know how “happy” or how different those next 365 days (or in 2016’s case, 366 days) will be.

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Sharp’s Annual New Year’s Eve Party

I feel like I had a little bit of an advantage, though. As I poured champagne for all our wonderful friends who were over for our annual New Year’s Eve party, I felt it. That feeling that everything is about to change, because everything was about to change. 2016 was going to be a BIG year. For starters, I poured champagne into glass glasses this year instead of our (safe) plastic ones – BIG deal!

As most of you know, December 2015 was a whirlwind for many reasons. I found out that I would be ending my stint as Weekend Anchor at WQAD to help launch our all-new News 8 at 9pm on our sub-channel, My TV 8.3. On top of all the holidays festivities that always keep us busy – we also celebrated one of my closest friend’s 30th birthday (and so it begins…), watched my fourth and final college roomie walk down the aisle (and so it ends…), and said good-bye to my incredible Grandpa who passed away peacefully in his sleep on December 23rd.

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Grandpa’s Bamboo

I want to quickly pause right here and thank all of you who “liked” my tribute post that night and to everyone who commented, sent private messages, mailed cards, texted, called, and more – your kind words and actions brought so much comfort to me and my family on Christmas Eve, Christmas, and every day since. 

When my Grandpa’s health was struggling, I sent him this bamboo for good luck. This was several months ago. On the day he passed, I was helping my Aunt and Uncle clean out his room at the assisted living center and noticed the bamboo on his windowsill. I quickly snapped this picture… I don’t really know why. There were so many emotions that day. I guess I was amazed by how much the bamboo had grown and it made me smile instead of feel sad for the first time that day. It gave Grandpa luck for as long as it needed to and maybe by having a picture of it, it can now serve as a reminder to me that life is all about a balance between luck AND fate.

So, for SO many reasons, saying “See ya later – Bye!” to 2015 was bitter and sweet. I think it’s normal to be apprehensive about change, but at the same time – we all yearn for new beginnings sometimes… a fresh start, as we always call it. I think that’s exactly why “Happy New Year… Indeed” was the first thing I thought after yelling “HAPPY NEW YEAR!” and clinking glasses with Zach. I couldn’t help but feel very, very… different.

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Julia’s Baby Shower (While I have your attention, check out julmarie.com!)

The weekend of January 2nd-3rd was my first “official” weekend off since May 2013. I spent it deep-cleaning our house, attending a baby shower for one of my dearest friends, and going out to my favorite restaurant with Zach that included an alcoholic beverage and no need to limit us to just an hour-long dinner break. On Monday, January 4th, I started my new job at WQAD – including a new newscast, a new schedule, new goals, new opportunities, new challenges. After my first week on the new show, we held an absolutely beautiful Memorial Service for my Grandpa on January 9th – it was a great way to celebrate his life, visit with friends and family you haven’t seen in a long time (or ever), and remember how special one day – one moment – one person… can be.

Analog Arcade Bar (I'm not very good at race cars)

Analog Arcade Bar (I’m not very good at race cars)

The rest of January has been an… adjustment. My parents came to the Quad Cities for a visit and it was strange not to have to worry about getting to work at 1:30pm on both Saturday and Sunday. We went to the new Central Standard in Bettendorf – very good! The next weekend we went out to dinner, Analog Arcade Bar, and then a late dinner (we like to eat) with our friends. It was strange not to be meeting up with them after my shift ended at 10:30pm (or later) on Saturday and be forced to play catch up on all the shenanigans. I feel like I’m reconnecting with family, friends, and Zach all over again. For sure, I’m reconnecting with my “self” again – the good, the bad… and the ugly.

I can’t say I feel “lucky” to have all of that in the first 31 days of 2016, but I do think it’s a really heart-opening way to start a new year and a new chapter in life.

With everything that happened in the first four weeks or so, I know that 2016 is going to be a year very different from every other. I can’t predict the future, but sometimes… you can’t ignore that gut feeling. I’m not setting any specific resolutions this year, because there are going to be more than enough milestones – a new job, celebrating even more 30th birthdays (including my own in July), watching some wonderful friends become moms for the first time (or the second time!), helping – er, pushing – Zach to the finish line of getting his Masters at the end of the year, and really taking in what a new year represents… in other words, a lot of weekend reflections.

I can’t (but really, I can) wait until December 31st, 2016 – when I’m pouring champagne once again – to reflect on a year unlike any other.

Cheers! Cheers? Cheers. Cheers…

– A