The immortal G. K Chesterton once scribed the following about Father Time’s passage of the baton that occurs every December 31st:
The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul.
For me personally, I think this is incredibly apt and this coming Friday, I intend to usher in 2011 as I did 2010….quietly and at home. I’ve never liked going out of New Year’s Eve. I’ve always been one to get extremely introspective on this day and find I prefer to feel this way in solitude and in the privacy of my own four walls. It’s easier to gain past and future perspective in this manner.
You see, I have a tendency to look both forwards and backwards on New Year’s Eve, especially in the waning minutes of the dying year. I guess I’m following the Roman god, Janus’ lead. He’s the mythical overseer of gates, doorways, beginnings, endings and time. His most prominent remnant in modern culture is his namesake, the month of January. He’s almost always depicted as having two heads, facing opposite directions; one head looks back at the last year, while the other looks forward to the new, simultaneously into the future and the past.
Last New Year’s Eve, I braved the chilly temps (well, chilly for Houston) and went out on my balcony and looked up at the sky. I looked for a star, but in the overcast, couldn’t find one. I wanted to try something different. Every year, I would make resolutions. Never kept one of them. Last year, I decided to make a wish just as the years changed chronological digits. I resolved that I would find stability in the coming year and in Laurieland, that word encompasses a lot of things. I figured in the cosmic scheme of things, I had one minute after the clock struck midnight, so I gave myself this narrow, 60-second window of opportunity. Why? I don’t know. I made up my own rules as I went along. I based it on nothing concrete or established; I was just a 50-year-old woman who still believed in the magic of magic.
But I’m no fool. I know which side of the wand is which.
As I look back on 2010, I accomplished two things I wanted. If this were an episode of “Bewitched” or “I Dream of Jeanie”, I suppose I could say two wishes came true. But those things happened with hard work and single-minded focus, not fairy dust or twinkling little stars or a carefully placed head nod by Barbara Eden. As much as I would love to believe that magic in that Hollywood soundstage sense is real, I know it isn’t. It’s determination but called something else. It’s wishes…resolutions with a softer side.
The Latinos have always known this. In Mexico, Spain and several South American countries, the paisons eat a grape with each of the twelve chimes of the bell during the New Year countdown, while making a wish with each one. On New Year’s Eve, Mexican women who want to find love in the new year wear red underwear, or yellow if they want money. Other traditions include taking luggage outside as a symbol of future travels.
In the Philippines, it’s customary to wear clothes with polka dots. This signifies the belief that circles attract money. Throwing coins up in the air at the stroke of midnight is said to increase wealth for the coming year.
So, I am bound and determined to make 2011 brim with good things. That’s why I’m covering all my bases. I will make several wishes jsut before 2010 morphs in to 2011. Sure, I’ll need to grow additional arms like Shiva but I’ll get it done and when the clock strikes 12 this coming Friday night, I’ll do it with a mouth full of grapes, in a polka dot shirt, wearing red AND yellow underwear, while standing outside on my luggage and making wishes while throwing coins in the air. And if I catch a glimpse of the first star I see, I’ll just consider that a bonus.
I have a feeling 2011 is gonna be bitchin’.
Happy New Year, kids. Wear it well.