As I’ve grown older, the years seem to pass more quickly. Yet, in some respects, time passes more slowly. There seem to be stretches of time when I’m just looking for something to do. Perhaps, that’s one of the tell-tale signs of reaching a certain level of maturity. Leisure time that isn’t always used up; time that isn’t focused or productive.
So end of year, seems to be an appropriate time to look over the entries in your calendar, and figure out what you did over the year that’s about to end. When you are working, either outside or in the home, you have a more directed life; things need to get done as part of your responsibility as an employee or homemaker. In some ways, it’s easier to have these expectations to guide your daily decisions, because later, when you’re on your own, you have to decide things for yourself.
The end of year rituals are predictable; people feeling sentimental about the year that passed, and optimistic about the one to come. As a child, we always had a family celebration at home on New Year’s Eve. A family dinner much like that of Christmas Eve followed by some sedate revelry at midnight. Lots of hugging and kissing and a toast with some Asti. My Carrano family continued to gather through the years for that annual celebration, long after my mother was no longer there.
As a child, I remember Mary, our neighbor next door would sweep her porch at the stroke of midnight to “get rid of all the remnants of the old year.” A “sweep out the old, bring in the new” kind of ritual. We were never as aware of all the worldwide celebrations taking place until the next day, when the newspaper would print photos of Times Square and other places where public events had occurred. Some people would go to a midnight movie and I was always curious as to what happened at midnight? Did the movie stop in order for people in the audience to briefly celebrate? I still don’t have the answer to that question.
But these are really not very thoughtful experiences, they offer us an opportunity to participate in a little bit of frivolity with not much thought as to what we are celebrating. It’s really about the expectation for the new year ahead. Let it be happy, we declare. How easy it is to just leave it at that, and wait until the next end of year celebration.
I happen to have had a very significant year; most notably, selling my beloved home and moving to a new place. All that was associated with that decision has changed my life in ways large and small. So many decisions that had to be made were important and emotional and life altering. Yet, I seem to have come through it all with not too many bruises and not too many regrets. Perhaps that should be the indicator for the year past; not too many bruises and not too many regrets.
But we all know that it’s more than that, it’s really about the things that we did that provided some level of happiness or sense of accomplishment. Some things might just have been minor changes in our daily outlook at life, or some small efforts to do a better job of taking care of ourselves. Perhaps, we did a few little things that might have helped someone else in some way. Or, as in my case, making an effort to provide my dog with the encouragement and support she needed to make a difficult transition.
All of these little things can contribute to your sense of accomplishment at meeting the challenge of living life in a positive and useful way. These are the things that I hope to do more of in 2020.