I like Christmas, but I love New Year’s, and it has nothing to do with glitzy parties or midnight kisses. It’s about that sweet week between the two holidays — a time to look back and appreciate the year that has been and to look ahead and anticipate what will be. I love the thought of a blank slate, a fresh calendar — both literally and figuratively. I also savor the pace of life during that week. People are more relaxed following the frenetic holiday preparations and, since many are on vacation, the phone rings sparingly.
At the office it’s a good time to purge files and throw out notes for stories that have already been written or never will be. I can sort through the pile of newspapers that have accumulated by my desk and take my own personal walk down memory lane, remembering the people I met and the events that I covered in 2015.
I also sort through items at home and donate those I no longer use. I relish the paring down process. And, as much as I enjoy the twinkling lights and decorations that embellish every room, I appreciate the serene spaces that emerge as the boxes are packed away. Sometimes I leave the tree up through New Year’s Eve, other times I take off the ornaments as events unfold in Times Square.When we were little, my mother would put out a big platter of Italian meats and cheeses, and chips and dips reserved for special occasions. She bought hats and noisemakers and my siblings and I would parade around the kitchen table happily blaring. As we grew older we were allowed to stay up to watch Dick Clark and the ball drop.
As a young adult, it was all about the New Year’s Eve parties. Dressing up and staying out late — a night filled with sparkles and champagne — followed by a day of Bloody Marys and football.
As an older adult, all I crave is to stay in, light a fire, read a good book or watch one last cheesy Hallmark movie, and daydream about the possibilities in the year ahead. The next morning I have to live it, but on New Year’s Eve the only thing I have to do is anticipate it.
I am writing this Dec. 29 and still in the sweet spot, but by the time this is published a new year will have begun and I will already have had six days to implement my vision for what it should be. I don’t know all the resolutions that I will make, and I’m not sure I would share them even if I did. Previously, when I wrote about my allegiance to the Paleo style of eating, I was quizzed in the checkout lane about the crackers in my cart.
And while attaining optimum health is a priority (I eat far too many sweets), my main focus this year will be on truly appreciating the people in my life. Christmas with my family in Napa ended as every visit does — with dad tearing up as he said, “We have a great family,” and then telling me how much he loves all of us.
There is a lot in this world that we can’t control, but truly loving the people in our lives and making sure that they know it is in our power. It seems that if we do that well, everything else will fall into place and it will be a happy new year.