Here it was, a few hours before the New Year and my little heart was going pitter-patter with nervousness. I am sure everyone has their tradition regarding the coming year, but I have this quirky superstition that whatever I am doing last in the “old year” will be a representation of what my life will be like in the new year. So, here it was, 2016, and I was having a fantastic time hanging out with wonderful friends. We were shooting darts or playing Euchre and for some reason, I still felt like there was something not quite right. Playing games is a good way to start the new year but I felt I needed more. Then…it happened!
“3…2…1…Jump!” I heard everyone yell. I jumped excitedly off the couch, waving my hands in the air and landing happily on the floor. This was my fantastic leap into the New Year! I was also 7 years old. My parents had let us stay up late so that we could do this exciting thing! My mother had made homemade pizza (we weren’t take-out OR delivery people). My aunts, uncles, and (YAY) cousins had come over for this new adventure. I recall the big joke my dad had made with regards to my eating habits: “Ha ha! It took you two years to eat a slice of pizza.” Too true! I started a slice of pizza (I was a super, super slow eater. Nothing like the Hoover-eater I am today!) and I finally got to finish it after my super bounce. What a memory!
As a teen, I was lucky to go out with my older siblings. We went out to fancy banquets / dances for New Year’s Eve. There would be a fancy three-course meal and afterward there would be endless dancing. There was the obligatory nervousness due to the desire to find the best dress, matching high-heel shoes, fancy jewelry to be worn that evening. Quite the show! Quite the excitement! Quite the fun for one evening! Year after year we looked forward to this event. Then marriage and children came along and the procedure changed.
As new parents, instead of going out for the evening, it was time to invite other new parents over and hang out while the kids either played together or were put to bed early. A quiet evening with some munchies and chit-chat. 5…4…3…2…1. Happy New Year! Quieter, but still fun.
Fast-forward again and you see children breaking away from their parents to do their own thing. The parents would either have fun continuing their pre-toddler tradition of a banquet hall or they might even stay home. Parents worried about their children, but pretended they did not. Children…ahem…adults…not worrying at all since they were invincible. 5…4…3…2…1. Happy New Year!
This is a footnote of what life was like for me every New Year’s Eve. As I grew older I realized the beauty of life and how incredible each coming new year was. I also gave up on resolutions. I found that these best-intentioned goals seemed to dissipate, usually by…um…January 14th. I finally decided that I would focus on that last hour of the old year to predict my new year’s fate. Why? Not sure, but it seemed like a genuinely great idea at the time. This brings us full circle back to December 31st, 2016 and when IT happened.
We had congregated in the kitchen. Nine minutes to go. Here we were, all gathered together, awaiting the dawn of the new year. I sat there nervously, pensively. Why? Well, my weird (unique) thought-bend of “last actions of previous year permeating the new year” were beginning to haunt me. Yes we had had fun! Yes we were surrounded by friends! Something was missing and I didn’t know how to fix it. Then, a funny thing happened on the way into the New Year.
“Amanda is still up,” said H.
“Who threw up?!” queried B. That was it! I broke out in fits of laughter.
“No,” said H, “Amanda is still up.” I was done for. I was laughing hysterically. Literally laughing out loud (the real LOL).
Suddenly Wiseguy yelled “HAPPY NEW YEAR!!” We looked at him like he was a crazy man. The time on the stove clock showed a minute to midnight. He pointed to the television which showed all these lovely people happily kissing and embracing each other. Not only had we missed the countdown, but we had missed the actual jump into the New Year. Were we upset? Heck no! We all hugged afterward and wished each other all the best in the new year.
Me? I was beyond ecstatic. I had desired a sign to show me what the 2017 year would be like based on my interesting definition of “old versus new” philosophy. I was so grateful to be laughing hysterically from 2016 into 2017. This was something very new for me. So far my jaw is going to need therapy from all the laughing I have been doing.
P.S. I did feel short-changed a bit in missing the countdown. Imagine my surprise and supreme gratefulness, when my friends and I got to do a repeat countdown! We watched as New Orleans counted down (an hour later) into the New Year. I love this life!
HAPPY NEW YEAR! May you wake up happy every morning. May you look out and enjoy what you see daily. May you appreciate all the good that you have in your life. May you smile everyday. Even when your life seems impossibly hard, believe that everything that happens is leading you to something brighter and better. Life is beautiful and so are you.