I love the last week of December. There’s a sense of closure. Whether it was a great year or a horrible one (or, as usually happens, a mixture of both), January 1 gives us a new start. When I was in school, I always rejoiced at the end of a semester. I was finished with finals and had new classes to look forward to. In the meantime, I could truly rest, knowing that I had a respite from responsibility.
A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.
For some reason, this year is much like those long-ago years in high school and college. After a packed fall and crazy December, I suddenly have a break. The health issue I mentioned a few weeks ago has been resolved with a series of good reports and I’m rapidly recovering. Even more amazing, to my mind, were the multiple comments on my positive attitude from all the doctors, nurses, etc. who were involved—clearly an answer to prayer! Continue reading
January is a time for new beginnings. From making (and breaking) resolutions, to making new plans and starting new projects, January brings the hope that whatever happened last year, this year can be different.
While there is a certain amount of list-making at the end of the year—everything from “The 10 Best Android Games of 2010” to “The Worst Fashion Trends of the Year”—we usually forget all that come January 1. Especially in our culture, what’s past is past, and what’s important lies ahead. Overall, I think that’s a good thing.
As my history teachers liked to remind me, studying the past can provide valuable lessons. Yet, there is a difference between learning from the past and wallowing in it. Yes, someone may have offended us. Our cause might have lost an election—or a battle, or even the war. (I get a mental image of the civil war reenactment in “Sweet Home Alabama”—an actual, if somewhat dated, cultural reference!) We might have had a bad childhood, and bad marriage, or a bad year at school. It’s good to learn from mistakes, be them ours or someone else’s.
This is my last post of 2009, so I wanted to say something significant, something to sum up the year and point with optimism to the days ahead. Instead, my thoughts turned to New Year traditions. A lot of them are pretty silly, when you think about it.
Take “Auld Lang Syne,” for instance.
Why do we sing this? Apparently, back in 1929, Guy Lombardo’s band played the song at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City after hearing some Scottish immigrants singing it. The Waldorf Astoria continued the tradition, playing Lombardo’s version of the song every year until 1976. Radio (and then television) allowed the rest of the country to sing along at home.
Do you know the words? I didn’t. A web search turned up the lyrics (reprinted at the end of this post), but then I had more questions. What in the world is a pint-stowp? How does one “pou’d the gowans fine”? Happily Wikipedia had all the answers.