Bring on the New Year

New Year’s Eve is always a time for celebration. We come together with family and friends to reminisce on all the times we’ve shared the past year and to toast to the future times we will share in the next one. This kind of celebration is usually in the form of a party-like atmosphere.

There’s no set place where I spend New Year’s Eve. I know the celebration varies each year and throughout the years as I get older. And to think about it now, I’ve spent the night in a lot of different places. I went from spending New Year’s Eve when I was little in my living room with my three younger brothers, banging pots and pans and parading down the street as we watched the ball drop on TV, to spending the night with 50 of my closest family members at an aunt’s house the year of Y2K because we all thought we were going to die, and we wanted to die together. I’ve spent New Year’s at a raging party held at a friend’s house, with pretty much our whole high school in attendance. I’ve spent New Year’s with just a few close friends, sitting in a living room, playing board games all night. I’ve spent New Year’s away with the family, toasting with my first real glass of champagne when I finally turned legal. And I spent this past New Year’s in Avalon at the Princeton with a 20-person deep entourage.

But the thing that matters with New Year’s Eve is that it doesn’t really matter where I am when the ball drops and the clock strikes midnight. I always get on my phone and wish the people who I love and don’t have the pleasure to be surrounded by that night a happy new year, even though it always takes me 20 minutes to send a text or make a phone call because the lines are always busy and backed up, with every other single person around me trying to do the same thing. That’s the whole point of the night, anyway—to spend it with people I care about. Or, if I’m not that lucky, to wish them good thoughts and wishes through a phone call.

Now New Year’s Day is a whole different ball game. It’s said that however you spend the day is a foreshadowing of how the year will turn out for you. A lot of people I know try to spend the day being active in something they wish for themselves for the next year, so they have a more likely chance of whatever it is they want happening to them. This also factors into play the dreaded New Year’s Resolution.

I’ve heard all the typical New Year’s Resolutions—you know, the ones you hear year after year by at least one person around you that usually consist of dieting or giving up sweets or giving up soda. There are some good ones, though—getting straight A’s in school, becoming more involved, getting a part-time job. And I guess making a New Year’s Resolution can be a good thing…if you plan on keeping it.

I’ve taken to not making a resolution mainly because I never intend to keep it. It’s in my past experience that I’ve learned that if I do, in fact, make one, and I do, in fact, intend to keep it, it still never works out the way I want it to. Maybe I’m making the wrong resolutions and trying to improve the wrong things. I don’t know. But in the past few years I’ve decided to do away with the idea. But that doesn’t mean that people don’t always ask me what I’m giving up for New Year’s or what I want in the New Year or what I’m trying to improve in the New Year. This they still do. And it got me to thinking…

Why does a New Year’s Resolution always have to be something I want to give up? Why can’t I look forward to something in the New Year—something exciting? Why can’t I focus on the things that really matter, looking beyond the superficial expectations of appearance or whatnot? Then I realized that I could if I wanted to. It all depends on me. It’s all up to me, and what I want for myself.

This year, when people ask me what my New Year’s Resolution is, I tell them that it’s to be grateful. I’m blessed to have groups of caring people around me every day. I’m blessed to have good opportunities for me to succeed in whatever which way I want to go. I’m blessed to be alive. And I take this for granted, and I don’t really show how grateful I am. And that’s what a New Year’s Resolution is all about, right? Showing improvement. I think it might be easy enough for me to keep this one and carry it into the next full year. There’s always room for giving and showing thanks. And it makes a big difference to let people know you care. And it can start with two simple words.

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