I think one of the most bizarre things about New Year's Eve is that in the very moments following the ball drop, the changing clock, the official arrival of the new year, nothing really feels entirely different. You are the same as you were only moments before, the world continued as it always has, and I often find the first few moments of a new year feeling a little less monumental than the movies will have you believe. In a way, nothing has really changed unless you begin to let it.
This year I brought in the new year with some friends I've had for ages, friends that I know will continue to be a part of my life for many years onwards. We celebrated in the same way we always have, with carols sung around the piano, endless snacks of chocolate truffles and sparkling cider and peppermint Hershey's kisses, and when the ball finally dropped the first word out of our mouths was "rabbit". Though these traditions may hold some degree of goofiness, they also remind me every year of how many incredible people are such a constant in my life, and that no matter what the year brings for us, we always have a place to come back to with each other.
So I suppose the truth is, this year really did make me different. I have a different perspective on life than the Virginia of New Year's Eve 2015, and I know a year from now I will know much more and have experienced much more than the person I am right now. However, in those fleeting moments at the beginning of every new year, I don't truly feel like much has changed, perhaps because I am surrounded by people who have provided me with an unchanging sense of home, sense of love, for as long as I can remember. Perhaps I don't feel so different in those moments because nothing truly is that different--love like that doesn't ever really change.