New Year's Eve has long stopped being an opportunity to party all night long for me. I don't think I've purposely seen a midnight in 12 years. ( As I said to a friend recently regarding the midnight hour, "If no one in the house is throwing up, I'm not awake") The last one I remember was the totally underwhelming Y2K thing. My partner Anna was on the couch, two weeks away from giving birth to our first daughter Maya. She had been told in no uncertain terms to stay down, bed rest, keep that baby in. So a friend of ours and I went outside to build a little fire to welcome in the new year and came disturbing close to burning the house down. (did you know that garden hoses when left outside in the winter become non-functional? True.) Anyway, the house didn't burn, Maya was born 17 days later, and to my knowledge no planes dropped from the sky due to computer error. January 1, 2000 came right on schedule with hangovers, sunrises, love won, love lost, and all the rest.
Fast forward thirteen years later and we have seemingly dodged another apocalyptic bullet. So what's next? I'm a firm believer in new days. We all need them, and sometimes the big ones on the calendar just aren't where and when we need them. New year's day is a great opportunity to take stock, and you have lots of company. Everyone is doing it. It's the first day of the rest of your life! Let's get the healing done! Let's lose the weight, the bad habits, the negativity, (along with the sweaters we received under the tree that we will never wear). We'll get to that just after we sober up and finish off the goodies we made last night. After all, it wouldn't do to waste them.
I have a suggestion. Rather than confronting yourself once a year with the War Hammer of Judgement, wielded in a two-fisted grip, try checking in more often with a cup of tea and a lot more compassion. Try making small changes by paying closer attention to the myriad of choices you make each day. There is value in the Large-Scale Revue. Sometimes it comes on a day like today, with lots of company. It's been stalking you since November. You knew it was coming for you. Other times it sneaks up on you. Maybe you find yourself alone in the wee hours of the morning surveying what just yesterday seemed to be a not-perfect-but-acceptable life, and now looks like a village in ruin. Homes burned out, the well poisoned, the horses let out of the barn.
OK, remember this is the Large-Scale Revue, this one can hurt sometimes, then again, maybe you see the good. Maybe you have worked hard and made some really great decisions this year, maybe you can be proud of who you are and where you're at. If so, good for you, carry on, you rock! If not, be gentle. Make the tea, have a seat, take a really deep breath. Let the lessons come without judgement, it's not easy, but it's possible, and it's a lot more constructive. Bring it back to the small stuff. We're told these are the things not to sweat. BUT, that doesn't mean they are not important. I would argue that the small decisions we make each day is what will make or break us by the end of the year. making huge changes can feel great, but they seldom stick. Small changes aren't sexy, they don't make for great conversation, and they can be harder in some ways to track. But they have the potential to change your life in a much more dramatic, positive and meaningful way than jumping out of a plane or deciding that you really aren't too old to try peyote. (you are, by the way) When you wake up the next day from making that huge decision, you're still the person you were yesterday, and keeping that giant ball of energy moving in front of you can take a lot out of you.
More often than not, change happens intentionally and in small pieces. Tea is optional, cookies help too. And you can do it every day.