It’s the end of the year!
I don’t know why I’m so excited, especially since most of 2018 will involve me having to address issues from 2017, that I’d hoped would just go away. Oh, I’m thankful for another day and being able to see the start of yet another year, but there’s also a part of me that’s just not fazed by the whole “Let’s get drunk and act stupid because it’s the first of the year” nonsense.
It doesn’t help that I don’t drink, so that might be part of the reason that New Years’ doesn’t grab me the way it does for some others. And while I’m certain that most revelers will celebrate responsibly, I also know that there are some who won’t. As someone who was nearly hit by a drunk driver (he slammed into a tree and emerged unscathed), I tend to limit my driving when I know that there’s some activity afoot where drinking plays a significant role. Like New Years’, St. Patrick’s Day, Independence Day, and virtually any day involving football. If I don’t have to go out, then I don’t. But if I do, then I go down paths that are more likely to be safe.
Don’t think that I’m knocking drinkers – I’m not. If you like throwing back a couple with your friends and family, then go for it. Alcohol has a long and storied history, and I appreciate that. As long as you’re not driving down the street after getting your buzz on, you can do whatever you please. I do find it funny, though, that drinkers get defensive when they’re called out over their pastime, yet find no irony in trying to humiliate someone who does not drink.
But I digress – that’s a different topic.
This is a strange time of the year. While Thanksgiving forces us to reflect on our families and blessings, Christmas (at least in theory) wants us to think on charity and love. The week after Christmas, however, is all about the past. What we promised to do twelve months ago, and how little of it we managed to accomplish. The friendships we made, terminated, and lost due to death. Assessing just what bad people we are, and noting how we’ll avoid or eliminate those pitfalls during the next year (again). It’s a time where we’re both joyous and serious; thrilled, but grim.
The thing that gets me with the New Years’ mindset is just how dark it can be. I mean, look at the idea of resolutions. I rarely make them because I know that I won’t keep them. Oh, I make plans, but those aren’t resolutions. I’ve been wanting to take a cross-country trip for the last ten years, but that hasn’t happened yet – partially due to money, partially to my inability to plan a darn trip. But I don’t consider my not going some sort of personal defeat; it just means that I’m lazy. I may make that trip one day. Then again, I may not – my world and sense of being don’t hinge upon whether I drive through half-a-dozen states to visit a site I’ve wanted to see.
But a resolution is different. This is something born of serious self-reflection and it’s rooted in the idea of one’s self. It comes from a sense of dissatisfaction and the perception of personal failure. Something must be corrected, the resolution argues. After all, that failure is why your life hasn’t been going the way you want.
It took me a long time to accept myself for who and what I am. And while there are faults-a-plenty, I’m generally happy with myself. There are areas where changes might be profitable, but they’ll happen gradually (and when I’m ready), not as the result of some arbitrary pseudo-holiday stupidity.
Maybe that’s a resolution I could live with – to enjoy life on my terms.
If you go out these next few days to celebrate, please do so safely. Please have fun and please enjoy yourselves. My hope is that 2018 will be a happier, more joyous, and all-around better year and any you’ve had before.