I don’t make New Year’s resolutions because, like most of the other 400 or so resolutions I make throughout the year, I rarely keep them. It doesn’t help to swear I’ll lose 50 pounds starting Jan. 1, 2008 or have Abs of Steel by Jan. 1, 2009. Maybe I’ll lose those pounds and build those muscles this year, and maybe I won’t. Either way, it won’t be for lack of trying. Since June, I’ve managed to lose 25 and gained five back, mostly since Thanksgiving. I’ve walked miles and miles, and I don’t have Anything of Steel, yet. Okay, my calves are like cardboard. It’s a start.
I’m just going to keep on keeping on and see what happens. Forget the guilt that comes with broken resolutions. I don’t need more guilt. I’ve got enough; my cup overfloweth. Instead, I’m going to do like my dearest friend does and refuse to be negative. I’m gonna keep my eye on the prize, my head in the clouds, and build castles in the air. And smile. I'm going to smile.
This is not a New Year’s resolution. I know I won’t manage to achieve positive thoughts, weight loss and steely abs every day. In fact, I know myself pretty well, so I figure if I can achieve any of them every two or three days, I’m doing great. I’m reaching for what I can reach – when I stand on the tips of my tiptoes.
I’m feeling pensive about the coming New Year. Maybe even a little apprehensive. George W. Bush still has another year and 20 days to make, directly, evil decisions and cause terrible suffering in the world. He still has plenty of time to make other, more covert decisions that will affect us and our children’s children for many years to come, decisions that will change our country and our culture and which will take years to undo, if we can undo them. The housing bubble has burst. Our feel-good-just-charge-it economy is deflating – but those of us who aren’t rich have noticed that particular slow leak for a long time anyway. Now it’s just leaking faster. I worry about that. I worry about my daughter and her fiancée, and what it will mean for their future. I worry, and I can’t do anything about it.
So on this New Year’s Eve I find myself thinking about New Year’s Eves I enjoyed in the past. In Bremerhaven, Germany, we got together with German and British friends and spent the evening drinking champagne, laughing, talking, and watching “Dinner for One,” an odd German tradition that, I’m convinced, only gets better with each glass of champers. And then there was more talk, more jokes were told, more bubbly consumed until, finally, midnight approached and we all piled out onto the flat’s tiny balcony, where the temperature hovered, in fog, at roughly 18 degrees. The anticipation grew with each passing moment and we all picked up the pots and big spoons strategically placed there earlier in the evening by our hostess. Midnight – and all the ships sitting in the Port of Bremerhaven sounded their horns. The harbor foghorn joined the wild lowing bass notes, then trucks and buses and cars all over the city added their baritones and high tenor voices to the mix. And then on top of it all, came the sound of people, screaming and laughing and yelling and banging pots and pans and exploding crackers and kissing each other and the joyous, hopeful cacophony went on for at least five minutes or so, until everyone came near to freezing and had to go back inside.
OK, now I've gone and made myself smile. So as a special treat for you, my blogosphere friends, look what I found:
Happy New Year, everyone.