When I fire up the old way-back machine and conjure the ghost of New Years past my recollections include: too much alcohol, revelry and noise, resolutions I never kept and a feeling of let-down that the Christmas holidays were officially over.
One of the best things about getting older is being able to deconstruct our old ways of doing things and to create new traditions that serve us better.
New Year's Eve has been repurposed in ways that make it one million times better than it ever used to be, starting with the fact that the day is first and foremost Pat's birthday. For the past few years, we've spent the entire day doing whatever floats her boat ending the day with a meditation from 11:30 pm until 12:15 am.
On December 31, 2009 we slept in, took our time performing our regular morning routine, then went to a noon yoga class. After class we went to Lola's Coffee Bar (the new 2nd location on Roosevelt) and then out to lunch at Cibo, where we sat in the front garden to eat and feed bread nibbles to the sweet little finches who decided to join us. From there we went to the Biltmore to browse around in Borders, where we bumped into two sets of old friends who'd had the same idea.
After a brief stop at home we then drove up to Cave Creek to the home of our new friend, Therese. We enjoyed a pot luck with 5 other wonderful ladies and then we adjourned to her back yard for a Blue Moon, New Years Eve Medicine Wheel ceremony at which we threw into a fire pit any regrets, resentments, and issues we no longer wanted to carry forward. We'd written those out on paper beforehand. We'd also written hopes, dreams and wishes on a separate piece of paper. Those we kept. At 11:00 we all caravan-ed down to the SRF Temple for the 11:30 meditation, where we all brought in the new year with quiet contemplation.
Earlier that same week, as 2009 wrapped up, it seemed like every recap of the year went on endlessly about how awful it was. I actually found myself adopting that mindset myself. But when I stopped to think about it, independent of the thoughts of others, I came up with a different conclusion. I actually found myself thinking that 2009 was one of the best years ever. I was able to realize the blessings in everything that had occurred, both good and bad.
And so, my realization became the inspiration for a one word theme for 2010.
It is the only New Year's resolution I made.