Monday, December 31, 2012
Old Lang Syne
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “One of the illusions of life is that the present hour is not the critical, decisive hour. Write it in your heart that every day is the best day of your life.” That quote is suspiciously similar to this one: “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”
New Year’s resolutions are fine, but I think we should be looking at each day as a new beginning. For isn't each day the beginning of a “New Week,” or a “New Month,” or a "New Year?" Time, anyway, is illusory. It doesn’t really exist. It’s all in our minds. But I am, like everyone else, a slave to the illusion.
I’ve never been a big New Year's person. I think it all goes back to a New Year's party my family went to when I was nine, in 1960. This picture shows my mother on the left and our good friend Nora. My sister, Erva, is smiling big in the back-ground wearing the lei. She was 13 soon to be 14, and as tall as any adult. The picture was taken right at mid-night. Everyone is happy and smiling and toasting and kissing and…where am I?
I remember being excited, wanting to help ring in the New Year. It was a big deal. 1960, turn of a decade and all that. Everything, I thought, would be new and different once January 1st showed its face. I think it was the first time I became aware of the change of the year and what that “meant.”
I hung on as long as I could. Probably sometime between 9 and 10 pm I got sleepy. Certainly I was not used to staying up much past 8:30 or 9 o’clock. I was taken to a bed-room and I remember specifically telling Erva and Mom, “Wake me up at mid-night.”
Of course it didn’t happen. By the time mid-night rolled around the party was in full swing. The adults had been drinking and dancing, laughing and talking and Bish was forgotten. Her request was forgotten. I don’t remember getting home. But I do remember being terribly disappointed the next day that I’d missed The Big Event.
It was supposed to be a new day, a new year. But the business of being a family and doing chores, of eating and washing dishes, making the beds, sweeping the floor, all the mundane things of life, were going on just like they had the day before and the day before that. Nothing had changed.
So what, I wondered, was “new” about it? I came to this resounding conclusion. Nothing. It’s just another day.
Because of that observation I’ve never gotten excited about New Year's. Except for 2000. Just how often does a person get to ring in not only a new century but a new millennia? Well, not often. And I had a good time with my husband and friends. We fired off fire-works and scared our friends' donkeys, but that’s a whole nuther story.
I didn’t stay upset with Mom or Erva for not waking me up. And I remember that dress Mom wore. It was white with gold-thread accents and had a matching shawl. It looked kind of like a sari and was probably silk. I thought she was beautiful. I still do.
Happy New Year.