On Celebrating the New Year…


Give every day a chance to become the most beautiful day of your life – Mark Twain

How things have changed in the celebration of a new year. When my peer group was under 21, it was all about flopping at some buddy’s house and partying hard until dawn. As we got older and had more money, we dressed to the nines and went out on the town. Everyone had one or more New Year’s Resolutions they would start on January 2, because January 1 was for recovery.

But that way of celebration seems to have fallen out of style. Everyone I asked at work said they were spending the evening at home with family. Memes boast about New Year’s Eve at home on the couch with our pets. I am not aware of any of my women friends buying party dresses. This year’s social media posts are about NOT having resolutions. We’ve renamed them goals or wishes or dreams or intentions – anything but resolutions. But, a charcuterie board by any other name is still antipasto, right?

I quit drinking a few years ago, so I’m happy to stay home on December 31. Being the only sober person in the crowd ranks right up there with having a root canal without Novocain. Plus, New Year’s Eve is always cold and windy here in Oklahoma, and that makes me a real Scrooge.

There are varying opinions about the last year, and most of them are negative. I hear sentiments such as “glad to see 2023 go,” “good riddance,” or, my favorite, “Can we get a do over? Because I don’t feel like 2023 was our best work.” But this happens every year and I don’t think it is fair to call 2023 (or any year for that matter) “bad.” There are 12 months in every year and 365 days. If every day of every month was horrific, then we would have an argument that it was a bad year. If even 60% of it was negative, then maybe we would be correct in saying the year sucked. We have high hopes for 2024 the way we did for every year that came before it. But one bad incident and it all comes crashing down and we throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Humans have a tendency to focus more intently on the negativity in our lives instead of the positive. Studies show that one bad situation will erase three good ones from our minds. It is a beautiful sunny day, your boss called and told you to take the day off because of your excellent performance, but some guy cuts you off in traffic and your mood is suddenly in the toilet.

“Was it a bad day? Or was it a bad five minutes you milked all day?” – Unknown

Spot on, anonymous person, spot on.

Today, January 1, is the first day of the year. But, it is also the first day of the month and the week. The day has 24 hours in it. I wonder if I can shift my thinking to making a fresh start every hour on the hour, and build on that. What if I can look at each day to begin again instead of being a jerk until January 1 comes around again. What good does is it to feed my body like a garbage truck from Thanksgiving to New Years Eve and then vow to “be good” on January 1? Because we all know by Valentine’s Day, we are eating like slaughterhouse pigs again.

I had a list of things I wanted to accomplish for 2023, but life happened and I didn’t get to do them all. I could be sad or embarrassed about that, but then I remember I did some pretty amazing things, some that weren’t even on my January 1 list. I had some cool experiences, met some interesting people, and gained a few new skills and a new heart valve. 2023 wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but neither have any of the 59 years before it. That being the case, why should I expect 2024 to be anything other than a mixed bag of blessings and hardships?

On top of which, why does the year get a bad rap anyway? It is just a date on the calendar. But it is us who have the day-to-day experience. 2024 will come and go and inside those twelve months I will have my successes and my failures. I hope I have more blessings than hardships, and I hope you do, too.

I like Mark Twain’s advice, that I give each day its own chance to become the most beautiful day of my life. Maybe that is my resolution, my goal, my intention, my antipasto.


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