Thank you, 2012, for every lesson learned and every opportunity given. Quite honestly, I won’t miss you all that much. I’m fully ready for 2013.
2012 had its share of challenges, personal and professional. It wasn’t the best year, it wasn’t the worst, and I suspect that’s how most years are going to be now. Maybe I’ve just hit an age at which there is a remarkable balance between highs and lows. I can note, however, that the high points are generally a result of good work and a little luck, while low points almost always involve conditions over which I have no control.
New Year’s Eve/Day is actually my favorite holiday of the year. I don’t do parties (amateur hour), I’m done with resolutions (aren’t you?), and I’ve no patience with predictions (“Congress will get nothing done. Again.” or “It’ll be harder to lose 10 pounds this year than it was last year.”). But then there’s this beautiful set of resolutions from 1943, courtesy of Woody Guthrie:
Still, I do believe that January 1st is not just another day. I believe it’s a collective, world-wide birthday. I believe it’s a very unique opportunity to reflect on what was–and consider what might be.
To that end, I’ve got a few rituals that mean a great deal to me, and I practice them annually in an effort to acknowledge the past and welcome the future:
- The house gets cleaned, quite well, before the stroke of midnight. I want to welcome the new year without clutter, and without the dust of an old year. Most years I do it myself, but there’s no shame in getting a little help here. It’s amazing how wonderful it feels to wake up on the first day of a new year with a clean house.
- For the past six years, I’ve joined a group of women of all ages on New Year’s Eve for a late afternoon High Tea. We wear nice clothes, and we eat lovely food, but the true value of this event is in the sharing we do. Sitting at one large table, we move from woman to woman, allowing each to share something meaningful from her year–an event, a lesson learned, a gift, a struggle. Hearing these voices, old and young, reminds me of our collective experience; we may live our lives behind closed doors, but we’re all experiencing the same things. It’s very powerful. Try this one.
- At midnight, I’m sitting in meditation at home. The fireworks in the neighborhood and beyond tell me when the hour has passed. I try, best as I can, to focus on my intentions for the coming year and make a conscious effort to release whatever human fears have visited me in the past year.
- On New Year’s Day, I make a point of spending conscious time doing an array of things I want to make certain I bring into my life in the coming year. Today, for instance, I walked five miles with my friend and Virtual Troop Leader Adrienne, I worked on songwriting, I signed up for two online courses, I took a lovely nap, I read for pleasure, I wrote this blog post, and I ate well.
- Speaking of food, I also make black-eyed peas. We all need a little luck. And I made cabbage, cause we all need a little money.
All that is great (for me), but I just stumbled across an idea, posted by a friend on Facebook, that feels so good I’d like to add it to my own ritual and share it with you. Here’s the post:
Okay, maybe this seems a little corny. I get that. But why not make a conscious point of noting those events, small and large, that make our year better? Why not review them 364 days from now and see how many great memories come flooding back to you?
This seems like a splendid and enriching experience to me. I’m in.
Anyone else want to join me? Anyone else have some New Year’s rituals that make them feel right as rain?
Happy New Year, everyone. Thanks for following the Big Scout Project. I truly appreciate it. May your 2013 be the year you hope it will be.
jean synodinos, jean synodinos, jean synodinos