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A Different Sort of New Year This Year December 31, 2010

Posted by craftlass in Uncategorized.
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It’s New Year’s Eve and I’ve noticed a big difference this year: Normally, in the last two weeks or so of a year it seems like everyone I talk to is complaining, “I just can’t wait for this year to be over, it was so awful, bring on the new one!” I haven’t heard this once this holiday season.

Maybe it’s just because I don’t feel that way at all. Maybe people are saying that and I’m just not hearing it. Less than 12 hours left and part of me wishes I could hang on to 2010 for awhile longer, keep enjoying it. I’d rather not listen to anyone kvetch over this particular year, frankly.

Maybe it’s because I have mostly stopped talking to negative people in general. I’ve made a lot of new friends in 2010 and they are generally upbeat and positive sorts, which is a large part of why the year was so good for me. Positive friends keep me optimistic and hopeful and it’s a much more fun way to head into a new year. More, “Let’s make 2011 the best year we can!” than, “Let’s look forward to 2011 because at least it’s not 2010.”

Either way, I’m grateful.

This year is also different just from a partying perspective. I don’t like leaving my place on New Year’s Eve, it’s a big party night for those who don’t normally party and amateurs can get annoying fast. For the past decade we have spent the night with our best friends (who happen to be married to each other) and established a tradition of drinking the best champagne we can afford and playing board games. Sometimes other people join us, sometimes it’s just the four of us, but we’re always together. This year they have the most marvelous reason of all for not partying (yet another reason to be excited for 2011…) so we’re having an early dinner instead and my boyfriend and I will ring in the new year alone, just the two of us. It should be very nice, but it’s different.

Life changes, sometimes very quickly, and you can either bend with the wind or break. It’s your choice.

We feel the passage of time more deeply on these two days than any other day of the year (excluding birthdays, but those we experience separately, so it’s different). It’s a time to look backwards and forwards and mull over how the past can affect our future. A time for lists of the best and worst things of the past year and resolutions for making ourselves better in the new one. Even if you don’t keep to a single one, just taking stock of yourself and your life in a more objective way may be the best part of this holiday. It reminds us that, while we are not perfect, as long as we struggle to improve ourselves and the world around us we are actually doing okay.

By any measure I can find, we ARE doing okay. I’ve been listening to the audiobook version of Bill Bryson’s At Home: A Short History of Private Life and, let me tell you, if you have any doubts that life is better in the 21st century than ever before, check it out. Sure, we have problems, we always have and will, but today’s problems in a first world country seem like trivial nonsense compared to any time in the past. I’ve gone without more this year than any time in my life (granted, I still have a lot compared to many, but it’s been a rough year financially) and I still have it better than even the wealthy and aristocratic folks of a century or two ago. Our progress in the past two centuries and even the past two decades is astounding!

Me? I’ve made a lot of progress, too, and if I stick to even a quarter of my own resolutions this time next year I should be here blogging about the best year of my life again. In years past I found resolutions a bit pointless but my new outlook includes the notion that just trying to improve is one of the best improvements we can make so I’m making lots of them this year. Resolutions are a way of quantifying the hope that we can become better people and all we can realistically do is try to live up to them. All I have to do is look through the massive piles of pictures I took this year to find plenty of inspiration as they are filled with the smiling faces of people worth emulating and learning from. I can’t think of a nicer thing to say about 2010.

So, raise a glass to the year past and the year to come, but also the person you are right at that moment when one passes into the other. As “Auld Lang Syne” plays, remember that while you think of your own friends and family of all kinds, you are being thought of and loved, too, wherever you may be.

2010 was a great year. Let’s make 2011 even better!

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