Wednesday, January 2, 2013

So This is the New Year...

For the past 2-3 years, I posted as my FB status the lyrics to Death Cab for Cutie's "New Year":

So this is the new year.
And I don't feel any different.


So this is the new year
And I have no resolutions
For self assigned penance
For problems with easy solutions

To me the New Year has never filled me with hope or the desire to make promises, I guess. I've actually never been too fond of New Year's. As a kid, it just meant staying up late and getting to drink some sparkling cider or maybe champagne if you're lucky. I often fell asleep and had to be awoken at 11:50 to watch the ball drop on TV and count down. Not terribly memorable really. I've forgotten most New Year's Eves I've celebrated.

In the 90s there was one at my uncle's. That was probably the one where my baby sister vomited on some guy's sweater and lots of weird old people I didn't know kept kissing me even though they smelled like beer and wine. Adults looked a bit teary-eyed about Auld Lang Syne, which I didn't get. That was probably '96. The most memorable New Year was obviously the new millennium....

I thought a technological apocalypse sounded sort of awesome.

We rang in the New Year just the six of us at the TV and everyone had this big fuss over the possibility of the worldwide technological disaster. All the computers would just be too confused by the year 2000 or '00 that they would just quit on us. I'm not sure how many adults around me believed it, but they talked about it a lot, and because I lived among Christians, in the end all anyone could do was pray. And, if you were my paternal grandmother, stockpile canned goods and bottled water. So we prayed, the ball dropped as we counted and life went on. We played with silly string, the six of us, and I guess it was fun. (It's hard for me to really dredge up nostalgia instead of apathy.)

The New Years blur after that. They passed. I never made resolutions, not that I remember.

Most were spent with immediate family, an event that you HAD to endure because what else would you do? Count down with a clock alone in your room? I sat there and writhed through the awkward TV hosts and musical performances, mumbled the count down, clinked glasses, drank the stuff, and got hugged or kissed. As I got older, it was less writhing and more just going through with it. It's just a ritualized human tradition, not anything embarrassing.

It wasn't that I never thought a new year would be different than the last. They usually are, especially when you're a teenager. So much changes. I didn't fear it would be worse or hope it would be better. I never felt that I could really influence it to go in any direction. All I could do was do what I wanted, which I would do whether the year was 364 days, 365 days, or 500 days. Most of the time I never anticipated the big changes.

You don't know the year you meet the best friend you always prayed for, you don't know the year your father will leave your family (or that it's only the tip of the iceberg), you don't know the year you'll realize how much you truly dislike yourself, you don't know the year a boy will tell you to your face he likes you very much, you don't know the year you'll know who you are and what you must do, you don't know the year you will finally cut yourself off from your father, you don't know the year you stop and look back and begin to grasp all the bad places you've been through. All you can know is how old you'll turn and maybe some tentative plans for school or travel or work.

I've had so little control over what happens to me. All I can do is steer things as best as I can. I try to be a good friend. I try to not be bitter, but to be nice and move on as best as I can. I try to work hard for what I want and not depend on others. I think I've succeeded somewhat.

This year does feel different though because there are at least two big changes coming my way. Inevitable college graduation comes June 2013. That scares me a little because that is the beginning of the rest of your life. Yes, I hope to get a master's or a PhD at some point, but that's whenever I want to and can afford it. After this anything can happen. Which leads me to my hope to move out of my mom's house and probably out of New York.

I always said I didn't want to live at home after I was a college graduate. Sometimes people get a little funny about that--they assume you leave home for a specific reason like maybe a far-away job or more importantly, MARRIAGE. Well, I don't have a job offer or a marriage offer at the moment, but I feel like it's right for me. My ideas about what home meant got the floor pulled out from under them a long time ago and there comes a point when things can't be repaired or even just redone entirely, you just need to relocate and rebuild elsewhere.

I wouldn't call either of these big changes in my life "resolutions." One is happening, as long as I stay alive and get my work done. The other is happening if I work hard enough to make it happen and if some other things fall into place. I hope....which means for the first time, I DO have a hope for the new year.

Lots of people on Facebook were saying they hoped 2013 was better than 2012 because 2012 was terrible. Maybe they're saying that because of personal hardship or tragedy. Or maybe because of Hurricane Sandy or the shooting in Newtown, CT. I don't know. To me, 2012 wasn't the worst year I've lived through (not sure what year that would be) any more than it was the best (not sure what that is either). It could've gone more extreme in either direction. I spent a month in London, which was incredible. I also had what I have to admit was possibly the worst Thanksgiving weekend I've ever had (that is saying a lot). I do hope that whatever the people I know are going through gets better this year. I hope that there won't be a natural disaster here or a mass murder.

But it won't necessarily get better for everyone. And even if there are no natural disasters or mass murders in the US next year, they'll be happening elsewhere. I can hope and pray otherwise, but it's sort of like praying for night to not come or for the ocean to stop being wet. It seems impossible.

I'm trying to effectively conclude this, but all I'm coming up with is more thoughts to chew on. I don't know how to bring this whole post to a fitting end. So I'll just stop here. I have the year to think about all this and figure stuff out. Maybe even to go back in a few months and edit this post to be more structured.


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