Sunday, December 31, 2017

Why Our Family does Not Celebrate New Years ( But it's Ok if you do!) or Make New Year's Resolutions. Taylor Swift's Good Year of 2017. 2018 Beginnings and Beating the January Blues.

*I have written a version of this blog post every year, but every year I feel it is worth repeating. I copy and paste my old post, make a few relevant changes, and post it, with the hopes that it will reach the people who need to hear it.*

The new year often goes unmarked for our family. Sometimes I am still awake at midnight and I hear the fireworks of the neighbours and their cheers. I smile slightly but have no inclination to get out of my comphy bed. I love that they want to celebrate. I also appreciate those who make resolutions or words they want to live by. There have been certain years where we set the clocks back and and at 8:00 pretended to count down with our kids...

Until the fateful year we joked about what we did at mealtime one Eve...and we were shocked at their tantamount tantrums. Our children are usually easygoing, but my daughter ran to her room sobbing. My sons both flopped their faces INTO their supper bowls. I have pictures of their crying faces covered in rice. And I could not stop laughing. I know, I am horrible that way. I was so shocked at their heightened reactions that it spurred me into laughter. Which only deepened when they came up for air from their stir fry bowls and were covered in rice. My husband and I were gasping for breath we were laughing so hard.

Later on we had a family discussion. I realized what they were truly upset about was the fact that they naively trusted us...and we broke that trust. It was actually the first time, at ages 11, 9, and 7 that they had experienced the fact that maybe their parents were fallible and not always reliable. In hindsight, I think that is pretty impressive. At first, I felt guilty about causing such chaos. But then I realized that at some point they need to take steps of independence away from us. They also need to know that we will not always be there in the ways they want us to be. And if we could talk them through it, and help them see why parents sometimes do this sort of thing ( give a celebration but fake the time to protect sleep ect.) maybe they will feel less guilty about survival when their time comes.

We did mini celebrations because we felt obligated to. New Years Eve is a World Wide Cultural Event for many. It was one of the last traditions, in a growing pile, to go for us. (We still have some traditions.) We thought that we SHOULD ring in the New Year. We felt that we were depriving our children of experiences thus we would throw some sort of event together last minute. We would usually be exhausted. However, It was fun when our attempt at some sort of festivity happened, but in general most of our New Years Eves were pretty ordinary (minus the lovely ones we spent with a single gal friend who felt like part of our family.) None of us are party people...Well, perhaps my daughter is sometimes so we try to appease her in this regard occasionally or find alternative ways for her to experience the social fun she craves. We are a family that does not look to the next big long weekend or holiday for our fun. We like the day to day. While we did hold on to a few key big events like Christmas or Birthdays, in general, we prefer the ordinary beautiful. Although, as Tolkien remarks, "It is no small thing to celebrate a life." Celebrations and markers of events can be important to the human experience. I am not negating that and I know for each person, the choices will vary.

Near the end of our New Year's death, I would participate in the "words for the year" that were popular. But even in the tough years where I needed a word for the new year to inspire me to live the next, it felt false. It simply did not match my journey. The word would change within a month or two. I often felt that it was like giving a post title to a blog post that was not written yet. Some people write their titles first to get their story going. I have never been one of those people. As you can probably tell from my horribly long, convoluted, laughable blog post titles. I write them as an afterthought and try to cover the main points. Titles will never come first for me. It's not wrong. It just is not me. I need to write my story first and then give it a title as an afterthought. Or at times, if I do mark a new year it is usually my Birth Day...the start of an official new year for me. Even at those times, I am careful about my goals and write them loosely. Goals are important to a psyche but only if the goals are flexible and if they do not set the tone for our entire existence or give us our meaning.

I really used to struggle with expectations and do still at times, but in general, I have found that any expectation for a year can not possibly be met in the way I hope it will. Sometimes it is better, sometimes it is worse. I want to live in the NOW. I like to go to sleep on New Years like every other night and wake up to a fresh day of opportunity, heart ache and delight... like every other day. Perhaps part of it is that I am an Aspie and prefer gradual transitions? Perhaps my idealism hopes that if I treat each day as a possibility- no more and no less- I can simply BE? Whatever the case, I feel I am healthier if I do not mark New Years.

There are other holidays I mark that others do not feel significance for. It really comes down to personality. I do not resent the go getters who party on New Years and make lists of ambitions. It simply is not me. I hope they do not resent that I like the night and new day to be as ordinary and extraordinary as it is every other day. I feel this way of mine prepares me more for the onslaught of messages that try to tell me that getting healthier, achieving status, getting money, being free or whatever will FINALLY make me feel better or have a good year. I have had health, status, money and freedom- immense privileges but with them I have also had sickness, insignificance, poverty and restriction and I have found that BEING through all of these has brought enrichment. In some of the privileges I learned and in some of the hardships I learned, but in ALL I WAS. I guess that is what I celebrate on New Years, but what I also try to celebrate each day when I wake up...that I am alive, that I am grateful for the breath I am breathing and will continue to choose at this moment, to make it what it IS.

Goals and expectations and words for the year are all fine in theory. In fact, I love reading some of my friend's posts on these mindful pursuits, but for my personal story they don't fit. I have struggled too much in the past with living up to an ideal I put in my mind. I have found the years I thought would be the best, turned out to be ordinary or the worst. I have found that the years set up to start horridly have ended in beauty, and some years have just been really hard. But, if I really think upon it not EVERY moment was hard. I smiled at points. I became. I had some beauty. The years that have been beautiful in sum- have had tears and pain. We often forget about the multitude of moments that make up our years. Profound is in the day to day ordinary with no marked words of description to describe, yet the fact of Being brings out contentment. The things I want to hold close to my heart are already in it. What I want for who I am, is already inside.

This MOMENT, this moment is what I have. I chose to share it briefly with you, because I know I also have something to contribute to the conversation. Those who write goals and ambitions also have something to contribute just as those who do nothing at all. 2017 was a political year. Many called it one of the most miserable years. Taylor Swift got in trouble for saying it was a great year. THAT is how jacked up our system has become. We call anyone on everything that is not "appropriate,""fair," or make sure that statements are checked for "white privilege." The people who call for "free speech" ironically cross words off of other's vocabulary or reign in freedom of speech and call it "hate speech." There IS hate speech and I don't support it. But banning words or not allowing people to express themselves is not the way to fight it. It is getting ridiculous. I used to be a social justice warrior, and in some senses I still am, but not one who is carried away by such statements. Why can we not see the beauty, the balance and the living even in terrible times? So what if Taylor Swift had a good year? In reality, she did...and it does not mean that she didn't experience heartache, grief or apprehension. She simply enjoyed the fruits of her labour in a tumultuous time in history. She also actively chose not to participate in controversial subjects. This doesn't make her less brave, she simply has a personality who chooses to use her bravery elsewhere. Good on her. I also applaud the people who reach out to their own and actively make a difference in lives because of their own hardship. We don't know what goes on behind the scenes. Why waste time judging it? Some of us can do this, others can not.

A party or an ordinary day on New Years is the perfect way to ring in the New Year...but it's only perfect if it suits you. If it makes you a better person, a more compassionate person, an ordinary person who sees ordinary as extraordinary or a person who thrives on existence- then go for it!  If you are an introvert who likes to avoid all New Year's festivities and likes to lay low through the January Blues - embrace that. If you are an extrovert who prefers to party hard through the January Blues- embrace that. January is hard because of the weather, the post Christmas bills or because of the way we agonize over the old and new year...What if beauty and life is just in the daily?

We are all hiding and exploring in our varied ways. Regardless we each have to face ourselves. It is better if we face ourselves with honesty and perception into who we really are instead of living an expectation or a word or a list of what we should be... or worse, sanctioning those around us for what we think THEY should be. Let's work on ourselves first, eh? Yet, if those lists and words truly show your soul- they are part of the experience too. BE what you need to BE because that is what is brave.

Happy Right NOW. Yes, we all need a will to try. But it can be moment to moment. May your right NOW be filled with all you need for the next minute. May you find contentment and beauty already. You are already standing on what you need. You ARE.

And for those that still love to hear it...I celebrate with you in spirit the beautiful hardship of endings, and the hopeful beginnings, so Happy New Year! A little more cheer, happiness and love through out the world and genuine well wishers of any beauty are ALWAYS a good thing. 

This is our family's theme song. Love it.

Imagine- John Lennon

 I still love this song regardless...I also apply it to every day...Happy New Day:)


Ashe Skyler said...

Happy New Year!

Part of me wants to say I enjoy celebrating the new year, but, really, the most I've ever done is enjoy watching the clock on my computer while I worked, and one year I got a midnight kiss. It's a pretty ordinary day around here too. Some times I forget it is a holiday and get confused by all the popping and banging going on outside. :P

Kmarie A. said...

Happy new year to you too. I do enjoy watching fireworks around the world on social media - it's pretty though I'm not a fan of fireworks up close ;) lol I get confused too- always think it's a gun going off every year on the first firework till I remember what day it is ...
A midnight kiss is always delightful 🎉🍻✨

S said...

Like you, both me and my hubby is an introvert and we are not keen on partying, nor do we go to clubs or parties. So, when we sit inside our house and hear all the roaring sounds of loud music, cheers, people laughing outrageously from all corners of our locality/area, I feel a little out of place, every new year's eve ( because as you have stated in this blog, I also had a few restrictions like health, noise sensitivity, neurological difference/inability to enjoy a majoritarian culture /mainstream concept of having fun and enjoyment, where everything including fun and happiness ( not to mention, what is appropriate clothing ) is dictated by a group of similar minded people where I am the odd one, etc.etc. too complex a process to describe in one word ). Yes, there were times in the past, when I enjoyed music (not loud music) with a few friends and some chit chat over our favourite food. But as we are in a new city now and without those close friends on New Year Eve, we avoid all of these, and both of us get busy in the kitchen, cook a few dishes and then watch our favourite series/movies on the internet till midnight and then we go off to sleep:) This is our kind of FUN:) Every morning, on Ist January, I make tea and a small breakfast for me and my hubby, and then after he goes to office (1st Jan is not a holiday in my hubby's office ) I used to sit down to write the first pages of a brand new Diary, recollecting my thoughts on the previous years and also I used to write whatever was going on in my mind. But last year and this year I did not even buy a brand new diary :)Every year starts with a different note but each year, I love the peace and quiet, similar to your "BEING" :) Just sitting and watching time pass by, reading some nice blogs or watching some nice photos posted on instagram or pinterest, calling up and wishing a few friends and relatives, and then, take the entire day slowly. QUIET, SLOW and PEACE are the words and when you are there, then a day, a date and even time loses its significance.

Kmarie A. said...

S; it is dictated by a group that does not suit the minority;( always my issue too ;) your traditions sound lovely... you definitely appeal to things I would like also... I love everything you mentioned! I do most of those too and I love that aspect of my life and myself. I'm glad you understand ♥️Cheers to the daily beauty of living in this new year of 2018 ♥️🍻✨