And having recalled that her godmother, above all things, had commanded her not to stay past midnight, she was, thus, already nestled all snug in her bed, with visions of (?) meteors stuck in her head?
In truth, I don’t have many recollections of New Year’s Eve, and not for the reasons one may think. I do remember Y2K, laying on a futon and cradling my infant child. And there was the one with family and fireworks and he-who-could-have-been-Prince-Charming. And another playing board games with he-who-wanted-to-be-PC…
But, in general, the place I most want to be at midnight on any given date is in bed, warm and peaceful,rejuvenating for whatever may come next. It is true, that presently I am wishing that I were geographically closer to some of those I love, but I would have felt the same way whether it were December 31 or August 31 or…
For the first day of the Gregorian Calendar — which was adopted by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 and which has a way more interesting history than you would think (he actually ordered the world to skip 10 days that year! True story.) — just has never been a very important milestone in my life. I’ve never really celebrated it, I haven’t really celebrated the night before and I haven’t ever made new year’s resolutions.
Upon consideration, I think the reasons are threefold. First, the kinds of resolutions that are most bandied about this time of year are not very applicable or meaningful to me. I don’t need to quit smoking or lose weight or give up caffeine or alcohol. I couldn’t be a shopaholic if it appealed to me and I no longer leave the dishes in the sink more than overnight.
Sure, I can eat more refined sugar than necessary, put off my laundry too long, and too easily talk myself out of yoga in the morning… But are these the things that I would waste serious resolutions on? No, I have deeper issues to deal with. Ones that would require resolve and effort and energy — and ones whose failure to work out because of any lack of dedication on my part could devastate me.
Also, I am a summer baby. That’s right, born near the Summer Solstice, my year starts six months from now. A perception reinforced by the fact that most of my life I have been entrenched in some kind of academia. Thus, all of my memories are cataloged according to school year, either mine (as student and educator) or my son’s. And most of my life transitions, personal and professional, can be tracked on an academic calendar much better than on our standard one. Summer is when my life shifts, when I would be more likely to celebrate and commemorate achievements and most likely to plan for change and new goals.
Finally, I was a Catholic baby as well. And in spite of PG13 (see above) having approved the current solar almanac, the Church operates according to its own time schedule. In the Roman Liturgical Calendar, January 1 is simply the 8th day of Christmas. Neither the start nor the end of any particularly significant event. No, the Church won’t mandate resolutions or personal transformation for several more weeks, not until Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.
And I, for one, have always enjoyed Lent. Of course, as a child, no-one really wants to give up candy or soda for 40 days, but it wasn’t like my mom allowed much of those things anyway. Instead, she nurtured an excitement about giving to others through such things as Operation Rice Bowl. And later, she taught me that Lent was not necessarily about giving up, but about doing what was needed to be better. This may just as easily mean doing something extra or cultivating a good habit or behavior, rather than the opposite. The time leading up to Lent became an important time of self-reflection and decision for me.
This year, Lent doesn’t begin until February 13. It seems to have both good and bad timing. We won’t be able to chomp down on those delicious Valentine’s chocolates until they are becoming a little stale. On the other hand, the Chinese New Year celebration begins on February 10, and will still be in full swing on the 12th, Shrove Tuesday (Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras as it is most commonly known), the last day for Catholics to glut and gorge and groove before the austerity of Lent sets in.
However, the Lenten season will not end until Saturday, March 30 which means that if Doompocalypse hasn’t happened before then, we will all be fried up, hungry and hollow, by a raging meteor on Easter Sunday. Hmmm. Appears a little more likely now that I think about the Second Coming and the Christian Apocalypse, etc…
And so it seems that I must be resolute in resolving any resolutions earlier than thought this year.
As mentioned, I am not as much for giving up things as I am for getting my self in order, and there is certainly more than a bit of disarray going on. It is primarily my history that I am concerned with if my future is in any way in doubt. (Lover of the Wild captures perfectly this sentiment here.)
I wish to be at peace with the people in my life. Those I love, those I resent, those I’ve hurt and those who’ve hurt me. I want to offer tenderness to each of us that we may better understand the other. This will mean no longer being afraid to reach out to some and to admit wrong to others. It will mean a willingness to give and accept forgiveness and to brave rejection. It will mean generosity and vulnerability.
I wish to imbue my child with the depth of my love for him. To wrap him close to my heart so he can feel that I will always keep him safe and warm and gently. As he is a new-teenager, this will mean not being distracted and being, not just present, but engaged. It will mean restraint and it will mean compromise. It will mean patience and trust.
I wish to cultivate a harmony of spirit. To reconcile the various dictates and instructions. This will mean time spent in self-examination and in seeking out those voices of wisdom. It will mean letting-go and it will mean taking-up. It will mean courage and faith.
~ And so now it’s done. Written and thrown out into the Universe. Upon re-reading I recognize that I am always overly-ambitious and that my own perfectionism may be my greatest barrier to success. But no time to waste on that debate! With only three months to go, there are some things I’d best start doing if I’m to have my happily-ever-after…