Like Christmas I'm not a big fan of New Year's Eve. I don't get the purpose of going out getting drunk and kissing whoever is around (although this year I am happy to be kissing a very special somebody). Sure it's only once a year and it's a big deal because it's the end of a decade (although wouldn't next year be the end of the decade?) and all that, but is tomorrow any different because you write down a different date? It's not the celebration of the New Year that bothers me so much as people's idea that somehow because it is a new year tomorrow everything is going to be different. I'm pretty sure that as rational adults we all realize there is no such thing as Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Bogey Man, Superman, etc. So why do we believe in the New Year Fairy? Some magical entity that will sprinkle glittery dust on our lives and poof everything is all right. It sounds nice and I'd like to believe this, but I simply cannot. I do not make new years resolutions to loose weight, quite bad habits, go for some goal that I've thought about for months, but did not have the ambition to go after. I do not need a special day of the year to get drunk and party only to sleep all day tomorrow, wake up hungover and realize that I'm not going to do any of these things just because it is a new year. The only tradition I can appreciate on New Years Eve is reflection and therefore instead of making a list of things that I can change in my life on ANY given day I will reflect on the past year of my life.
A year ago I was leaving the Marine Corps. My office was packed. My apartment was packed. My life was packed in neat boxes locked up in a storage unit right outside of base. I left for Central and South Florida on January 1st then ventured on to Peru. I saw the Everglades, the rainforest, The Amazon, Machu Picchu, cloud forest, the Panama Canal, and much more. I came back and traveled around California tasting wine and visiting friends and family. I spent a week packing up my dear friend, Beth, in Yuma and helped her leave the Marine Corps. I went to Salvation Mountain in the middle of the desert. I ran more miles than I want to add up. I competed in and finished the NYC marathon. I fell in love. I laughed until I cried. I cried until I laughed. I held my newest nephew (2 weeks old at the time). I hugged my oldest nephew. I saw friends I haven't seen in 5 years and picked up exactly where we left off. I lost friends, made new friends, published essays, wrote more essays, finished a semester of school, drank Guinness on a one-to-one ratio to miles I ran. I stressed about money. I spent money frivolously. I slept more than I have since I was a kid. I slept on more couches than I did beds. I mad mistakes. I said I was sorry. I finished goals. I abandoned some dreams. I missed someone so much it hurts to think about now. I loved someone so much I can't even write the words to express it. I traveled to another hemisphere and I found my way home. I learned things about myself I never expected. I found out things about myself I hate and still try to forgive. It was one hell of a year.
In the musical Rent there is a song titled "Seasons of Love." In this song the cast sing about how you measure the life in a year. They sing that there are five-hundred, twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes in a year. In the novel and movie, Fight Club, the narrator says, "This is your life and it's ending one minute at a time." A couple years ago I saw the writer of Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk, and asked him why he writes. He told me, "I'm going to die. My friends are going to die, but in my stories they live on." He is right and everyday we add to our own stories no matter what four numbers are at the end of the date. So, I don't hope that 2010 will be any better than 2009 (a pretty fucking phenomenal year). I hope that that my health remains, that I get to see my family more often and most importantly that I have the courage to make my dreams and goals happen on any day of the year rather than waiting another 525,600 minutes to make resolutions. On one final note of 2009, in honor of the late Kurt Vonnegut I hope in 2010 anyone who reads this will take this advice: "And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'if this isn't nice, I don't know what is.' " Why not wait until the end of next year to realize everything you want, need or have is all within your grasp.