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Same Ol’ New Year, Brand New Me

By Karen Bagnard
Posted: 01/12/2023

Today is only the third day of the new year and I had my first opportunity to write the date and, this time, I didn’t miss a beat.  I wrote it exactly right on the first try.  For over seventy years I’ve had to do this… learn to write the correct date in the new year.  It seems like I just learned to write “22” and now I’m writing “23.”

So what else is new?  Not much.  But… in a way, maybe a lot.  People still get drunk on New Year’s Eve and kiss at midnight… sometimes complete strangers.  Not me.  Not anymore!

I’ve done that.  When I was young I used to love to dress up and go to parties with whatever man was in my life at the time.  I loved the dancing and the fun and the laughter and the toasts.  I loved seeing everyone happy and celebrating.  I loved the kissing at midnight!

People still camp on the parade route, too, and do all sorts of crazy things to stay awake and stay warm.  People come from all over to do this.  I did it once.  It was awful!  I was tired, cold and cranky.  We didn’t even have a good view when the parade finally started.  But then, I didn’t have a motor home with a nice bathroom to use and a warm place to escape to with easy access to good food.  We were definitely not well-equipped.

And anyway, just who can get up early and go to the parade route to see the Rose Parade after partying through the night?  I sure couldn’t do it.  Certainly, not both!  I spent many a New Year’s morning sleeping through the parade after a night of partying.

Over my lifetime I’ve modified my New Year’s Eve festivities to parties at home, sometimes there were little kids who wanted to stay up until midnight so they could rattle pots and pans to wake up the neighborhood.  First the multiple parties got whittled down to one party… we only had to choose which one.  Then it became a party at our house.  Later it became a party with kids at our house.  Then it became a party at our house but we celebrated New Year’s in New Your or Ontario.  Then it became an early New Year’s Eve dinner with a friend… at home because Pasadena was too crazy.  Then Covid came and really put the kybosh on everything.

Now New Year’s Eve is a quiet time to stay home and avoid the craziness.  It’s a time to savor the comforts of home, enjoy an early dinner with a friend or two, turn on the TV to see what’s up and then turn it off because the stupidity of watching it is awful.  That’s when the classical music comes on and I shuffle the cards for a few rounds of Solitaire.

No more “resolutions” either!  I’m finally resigned to the fact that I will never be perfect.  I’ll always be a work in progress.  I’m finally okay with that.  So, instead of “resolutions”, I reflect on the year past and the things I got “right.”  I’ve lost weight, I’ve managed to keep my finances going, I’ve learned to do things in new ways to accommodate my vision loss.  I’ve come to terms with the things that have changed for me.  I count all my blessings.

I look forward with resolve to do better… not perfect, just  better.  I think about my friends who are grieving the loss of someone they love.  There are too many of them this year.  I keep them in my prayers and resolve to stay closer to them in the new year.  

I suppose what I’m saying is that the New Year is definitely not new but we are.  We have learned through the years that some things seem to stay the same, year after year, but we don’t.  We evolve and learn and develop a richer inner life that doesn’t require stilettos, sequined dresses, champagne bottles, noise makers and confetti.  New Year’s Eve is quieter, warmer, less exhausting and just as lovely even when there’s no one to kiss at midnight.

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