Out with the old, in with the new

The Gregorian calendar year reads 2014 rather than 2013. It has been unusually cold in the Twin Cities metro. Our high temperature yesterday was -1°F and that may also be today’s high as well. Slippery roads, wind chills colder than -25°F, drunken revelers weaving half-ton machines along the roads, shoulders, and medians, and risking the car not starting at the end of the party were reasons enough for some to stay home and enjoy the warmth.

In the United States, we have three major holiday celebrations within a five or six-week period: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. Thanksgiving gives us a reason to pause and remember all the people and things for which we are thankful, plus a feast and some sort of televised or streamed entertainment. Christmas is our time to celebrate giving and receiving and of being with loved ones when possible.

New Year’s is the odd duck holiday. It is a placeholder on a calendar system. For many it has become a bacchanalian excess, maybe with one being lucky to enough to get a New Year’s kiss, but oftentimes culminating in an epic hangover. Resolutions formulate and then dissipate nearly as quickly as common sense in a Congressional committee meeting. The novelty of newness wears off during the first back-to-work commute.

New Year’s placeholder status gives us an opportunity, should we accept it, to take a few moments and review last year’s events. We are all works in progress from the day we enter this life until the day we exit it. During the course of a year, we have good and bad experiences. Could those experiences teach us how to be a better person? Do not let them be “shoulda-woulda-coulda” moments since we cannot change the past. Even regrets become teaching moments if we choose to not let those regrets govern our lives. Allowing regrets to control us keeps us from moving forward and finding peace. Our good experiences should inspire us to do better, which in turn can inspire other to do better. We can influence today which in turn influences the future. Everyone can benefit from a better future.

Having a loving and supportive family along with some wonderful and amazing friends made 2013 a better year for me than 2012. I still miss Lucy and that will never change. There were fewer losses and more reasons to celebrate. Knowing people care enough about me to share their scarce free time, how their days went, and their worries, hopes, and dreams, is very humbling and satisfying. My hope is 2014 will be better than 2013, and as long as we have hope, we can move forward. These special people inspire me to keep moving forward and make my life so much better.

If you are lucky enough to have today off, enjoy the warmth and the company of love ones. Bask in the optimism of the new year and new beginnings, and give your special someone a meaningful hug. I have heard that hugs help cure hangovers. They definitely take the chill out of a winter day and brighten moods!

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