Wednesday, January 4, 2017

January 4, 2017

Happy New Year! Did you celebrate with friends and family Saturday night? Did you party hearty?

We’ve gone to a few New Year’s Eve gatherings in our time, but for the most part, we’ve stayed home—as we did again this year. Although in the past we’ve sometimes gone to bed before the grand moment, this past Saturday night we stayed up. Our celebration was simple—we turned on the television in time to watch the ball drop in Times Square. Enjoying the quiet and the ambiance of vacation time, we were both into reading our individual selections from our TBR piles. So, we turned on the television at about twenty minutes to midnight, watched the silliness for a bit, participated in the countdown as we watched the ball drop, wished each other a happy new year…and went back to our reading.

Though my husband and I don’t indulge much in the end-of-year celebrations ourselves, I can say that, collectively, we humans get more excited about the beginning of a new year than we do about any other national or international occasion. It certainly is a curious thing, to see all those people wearing funny hats, waving banners and flags and noisemakers, to see the joy, and the hope. And, of course, we mustn’t forget the kissing. There’s always a lot of kissing.

I believe we tend to make a big deal out of ringing in the New Year, because no matter who we are or where we live or what our circumstances, we all crave two things: to get rid of all the crap that happened in the previous twelve months, and to earnestly seek out a brand spanking new beginning. It’s as if, when we toss the old calendar into the trash, we’re saying, “everything is new again!”

What a testament to the basic optimism of the human spirit!

The last few months have been filled with uncertainty and peppered with small tragedies. There have been wars, and rumors of wars. New phrases have entered the lexicon, the most unfortunate of which, in my mind, is “false news”. We find ourselves in the position of facing the prospect of having to wage anew the battles for human rights that we fought in decades’ past. Many of us are filled with uncertainty for the future.

And yet, millions of people gathered in town squares across the globe, and millions more who couldn’t gather in person, tuned in via their televisions or their computers or even their smartphones, to herald in, with great pomp, the arrival of 2017.

The New Year is a clean slate, ready for you to write upon it. What will you choose to do with it? As you may recall from past essays, I don’t really indulge in “New Year’s resolutions”. They are easily made and even more easily broken. Instead, I like to think of what, in general, I would like to accomplish.

At the top of that list is always a prayer to God, that He helps me to become a better person, in every area of my life. I am a work in progress. I have mountain-top moments and then great swallowing valley ones. In other words, I’m like most everyone else. I want to be a kinder me, as there are enough times when I’m not to prick my conscience. As I said, a work in progress, with lots of room for improvement.

This is also a notable year for our family as my beloved begins his last year in the work-a-day world. In the note he left me yesterday, (he usually leaves one for me to find on work-day mornings) he announced that he had 323 days left as an employee of the company. In recent years, he’s lost the love he always had for his job, a fact that in my heart and mind is a tragedy. But his words yesterday were optimistic. He wrote, and I quote, “I hope they are good days and I’m going to try and enjoy them. You enjoy them, too.”

Sound advice from my beloved that I plan to follow, and I am happy to share it with you.


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