If any of the following sounds familiar, it is. I borrowed heavily from my New Year’s Day post from last year.
“And now let us believe in a long year that is given to us, new, untouched, full of things that have never been, full of work that has never been done, full of tasks, claims, and demands; and let us see that we learn to take it without letting fall too much of what it has to bestow upon those who demand of it necessary, serious, and great things.”
— Rainer Maria Rilke
I was driving home from work one day and thinking about why it is that many, possibly most, of us spend a part of the period around New Year’s Day reflecting on the past and planning for the future. In a way, it seems odd to me because there’s nothing particularly special about the change of the calendar year. Except, perhaps, that so many other people also recognize it as an event.
Personally, I think that the annual reflection time probably should be done on one’s birthday – a date that surely has more personal meaning. If I were to make resolutions, which I don’t, the anniversary of my birth would seem like a great time. But, then again, I don’t pay much attention to my birthday most years, and I suppose that I’m not alone in that. So, maybe that doesn’t work, either. Thanksgiving, on the other hand, is a holiday that was custom-made for reflecting – and I do reflect then on how fortunate I have been. But I still don’t make resolutions. Just not a fan of lying to myself, and I was never a good goal-setter (a look at the goal setting for my performance evaluation at work would prove that)
To be totally honest, I’ve never been a big New Year’s Eve fan. In my wild youth, I considered it to be ‘amateur night’, and therefore much safer to be home. Being in the wonderful worlds of information technology and financial services, there were many years where I was physically at work on New Year’s Eve – but that’s okay, my husband worked nights for a newspaper (no holidays for them). There were even a few years that we worked close enough to each other that he would stop in my office with coffee and donuts on his way home from work. A few times when the kids were younger, and desperate to stay up to greet the new year (in the way that only kids are), we stayed up to watch the ball drop on tv. Most years I go to bed early because I have been up since 5am – midnight really doesn’t seem like much of a treat after working all day.
But since reflection seems to be the thing to do, I have to say that this year has been a reasonably good one, all things considered. My job, although increasingly demanding, is as secure as any job is these days. The family has been healthy, and we managed no major medical events all year. My husband retired, and we’ve slowly started working on getting the house ready to go on the market. Elder daughter graduated from university, and moved to a new life in Japan – she’s very busy, but happy. Younger daughter is successfully forging her own way through the maze of high school. Even the dog is healthy. I kept writing this blog, and managed to keep to a defined posting schedule. And I’ve managed more time for writing overall.
Next year is likely to bring many changes in my universe, some more challenging than others, but that’s what life is all about. Most of the time, it is how we approach life, and move through it, that matters far more than what it hands us.
To quote the inimitable Jimmy Buffett in “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Atitudes”:
“Oh, yesterday’s over my shoulder
So I can’t look back for too long
There’s just too much to see waiting in front of me
And I know that I just can’t go wrong”
And so, I leave you with my warm wishes for a safe, healthy, peaceful, and if possible, happy, 2016.
Sunrise in Milledgeville, April 2015.