Friday, December 31, 2010

Great Expectations*

It's time to tear the plastic off of that motivational/costumed-babies-sleeping-on-giant-flowers/leggy-swimsuit-model calendar you received as a desperation gift from some co-worker or distant relative. We're about to begin a new calendar year!

We spoke last year of the perils of the New Year's Resolution. The meditation for this change-over in calendar years will focus less on the promise and potential of the next 365 days and will instead concentrate on surviving the next 24 hours with your good attitude intact.

We speak of The New Year's Eve Expectation of Grandeur. (insert ominous music of your choice)

There is something about the level of expectation placed on this night that has always felt, to us, somewhat forced. For weeks beforehand, we hear of the extraordinary importance of being at just the right venue or event, with just the right person, wearing just the right outfit and imbibing and ingesting just the right treats at just the right time.

We should say that we are staunchly in favor of the idea of setting aside a random winter's eve for a healthful bout of gluttony and debauchery. Blowing off a little (or possibly a great deal of) steam after the strain of winter weather and stress of the holidays seems reasonable, even wise to us.

What bothers us is the notion that how one elects to spend this one evening necessarily sets the tone for the next year of your life. That is a lot of expectation to heap on to just one night.

Maybe it's just us, but we've never had a truly magical New Year's Eve. We have had truly magical nights on other calendar days, and so feel reasonably confident that we can recognize one when we're in the middle of it. We have had some lovely New Year's Eves and others that we have judiciously elected to never again speak of. Ultimately, though, in our experience there is no correlation between our actions on December 31 and our fortunes on say, the following February 3 or June 17. 

If you do have a storybook evening, we sincerely hope that it does carry over and is a sign of good things to come for the upcoming year. If, however, you mange to make a tremendous botch of the whole thing, as we have often done, there is no need to hide under the couch for the next 12 months.

As the inimitable Scarlet O'Hara would say, “Tomorrow is another day.”**

Not to mention, there is another New Year*** to celebrate in just a few weeks... and this one involves dragons!

Today's exercise: Celebration without expectation. 

Next: Mr. Attenborough's Neighborhood (Subtitle: Someone just got a whole bunch of nature documentaries on blu-ray.)

*No really... Is that not just the most screwed up story or what?

**For us, “Gone with the Wind” and “Great Expectations” are inseparably linked, having read them back to back one summer many years ago, as a way to fill the hours spent tanning in the backyard. This gave us both an unique take on literature and very, very bad skin. 

***Year of the rabbit. A new tattoo is expected. (Our lemons-to-lemonade approach to the aforementioned bad skin.)

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