Now that we are faced with 2009 I had a chance to sit down and think about 2008…. what came to mind was how it ended, not with a bang or an amazing show of lights or activity… and in turn 2009 did not begin with some sort of fanfare… a fact that led me to question when exactly did the celebration of the New Year cease to hold such a celebratory and exciting meaning in my life. Let’s look back at the years where it did:
One of the MOST remembered years would have to be that of 1999/2000.. the fear of "Y2K" and the "end of the world"… ok so I was not especially scared that the world would end or all the computers in the world up and die (after all even in high school I knew programmers and had more appreciation of their skills than to believe they would miss such a detail entirely…)… I spent it relatively quietly with a close knit group of friends watching a televised countdown and making calls at midnight (ironically one even to Ken). No alcohol as this was a group of non-drinkers but we still celebrated…
2000/01 was exciting, we were newly engaged the spring of 2000 and in Minnesota to celebrate the season. There was drinking and joking and again the televised show but a different feel… it was a more "college bash" feel where the reason for drinking was New Years and the kiss at the countdown important… I was new still to dealing with the guys and still enjoyed the company… we all stayed at Ken’s folks to be safe and had our first breakfast of 2001 cooked by Ken’s dad.
2001/02 was another milestone – the first married New Years… again drinking and partying and the kiss having meaning but the event more for being together with friends than caring that a year ended… was this when it started to become the reminder of a new number at the end of the "0" and not a brand new beginning?
The next few years blur but I do remember 2003/2004… no longer allowed to work and waiting on the birth of our twins we had people over for games and everyone but ME drank while we watched yet another televised countdown… that was a year where the beginning of a new year meant something – it meant we were months closer to the birth of our children and our lives changing forever… so we celebrated
The children came and some years we had no more than one person over.. until this year. No televised show, instead I played Animal Crossing which had its’ own countdown… no kiss – Ken was busy playing a board game with Ted and Sean… and the night played out with Karyn and I talking about scrapbooking and other crafty things. Did it feel like a new year had begun… not really… did 2008 end with some sort of a change of the world view or feel – definitely not… so what caused 2009 to feel here?
Well it was not for 2 more days before I really had something of 2009 impact… of all things I finished a cross stitch and had to stitch in 09 instead of 08… sort of like that first cheque written with the new year on it (goodness who still accepts those?)… and then there was the attempt to schedule events for the boys at the library and noticing that my family agenda has ended… so mundane compared to the earlier years where we would sit around and make resolutions and drink to the new year. Don’t get me wrong I made a couple this year too… simple ones that are much less "castle in the sky" and more "gotta do anyway"… things like use the electronics we have around the house more (ie.. the Wii or pc games we have purchased)… to attempt to plan more months ahead activities for the boys… though I did have one much more interesting activity start… I plan on doing the year 2009 in pictures, each day I pick a picture or take one on purpose for my folder on my computer, I plan on making a scrapbook out of all of them and see how our year went by… I hope this forces me to slow down and enjoy the days a little more and maybe even look around me in a new way.
But for the moment New Years has relegated itself to the same placement as Valentine’s Day in Ken and my lives… a date celebrated by the world but of no large and personal reason for us. We chose not to declare our love on the 14th of February (as if we have sitters most years anyway) in anything more than take out and cards that I make for the fun of it, but instead chose our anniversary as our day. New Years has become an excuse to drink excessively for Ken with friends – after all we get the next day off right? and a day for me to have a friend or two over and visit but then again I could do that another day right? So did the magic die? Have we lost touch with the importance? I would like to think we have reassessed our priorities and found that we do not need to be told by the calendar what days are important… yes, the year has changed but did that exact day change us? No… Are we better for our time in 2008.. well I hope so, our family has grown and our relationship strengthened but these are things that happen over time.
So what is 2009 to me now… a new number, yes, a new beginning… well I would rather think of it as a continuation of life … one more year together for Ken and I, one more year older for the children and a new baby in our midst… I am aware that in the coming years the celebration will come back into it as the boys mature and become more aware of the passage of time and what it means.. maybe that is why the celebrations continue… traditions and the passing of those to our children.. but does the meaning return the way it was back years past? I doubt it… for one I cannot see myself drinking like I did in Minnesota or sitting with friends unsure of what having children in my life will mean…
But we have so much more to look forward to now… the future years with our children, 10yrs together is not far away… so while the traditions of New Years have paled a little in the ongoing time we have found some new traditions and simple pleasures to replace them. So now I have to ask where was I going with this…. well long answer short… nowhere… but then isn’t that part of the fun of thought processes (or is this just a philosophy student thing?)? The travel along that random bubble of thought perhaps just to see where you end up?
Happy New Years everyone!