There is some irony, I believe, in the way we observe New Year’s Day.
We hear a lot about making resolutions for the coming year, but the entrapments of the holiday might make it a bit difficult to make them stick.
Years ago, during a post-New Year’s sermon in which he talked about the benefits of making a clean start, a pastor friend said his New Year’s resolutions were to have more meaningful interaction with his wife, get more exercise, watch less TV and eat better.
He then spent the first day of the year lying on the sofa watching back-to-back games of football on TV while eating junk food, and realized by the end of the day he and his spouse had scarcely spoken.
It’s a typical story that might also include a hangover after a night of too much celebrating.
Many of us simply don’t get off to a good beginning.
I am long past any substantive celebrating on New Year’s Eve. If I want to ring in the new year, I will watch the ball drop in Times Square and pretend I’m in the Eastern Time Zone so I can go to bed.
(When my children were little, we had this way fun tradition of jumping into the new year – whether it was from a piece of furniture or the fireplace hearth. I have to be careful with the jumping these days, of course).
Long ago, I would usually watch the Cotton, Rose, Orange and Sugar Bowls on New Year’s Day, but now there are a zillion other bowl games that start in mid-December.
They don’t seem to mean a great deal, other than money and TV exposure for the teams playing. The four I just referenced are played sometime around the New Year’s holiday but they don’t seem to be significant either, unless they are part of the playoff system that determines the national championship.
So I am no longer a big bowl game watcher.
I can still eat too much with the best of them, however, and whether or not my exercise will be consistent in this new year remains to be seen.
But like the pastor I mentioned, I believe there are good things about using the change in the calendar to at least think about reconsidering some old habits and making some changes.
I do this in conjunction with taking down the Christmas tree and decorations.
While many lament this task, and might get a bit depressed as the holidays come to an end, I rather enjoy it.
Don’t misunderstand me. I enjoy every minute of the Christmas season and my wife and I savor the few days our adult children and spouses are with us. We have a blast. And while I do everything possible to make it go slowly, it zips by, and before I know it, it’s over.
The tree and all the lights and decorations still look beautiful, but they are also beginning to look a bit tired after the celebrating is done.
So along about Dec. 28, I begin to disassemble it all and by about noon on the following day (yes it takes me at least a day and a half), when I finally have it all put away, there seems to be a freshness about the house and I relish in that.
I know next Christmas will roll around again plenty soon enough so, rather than wishing it were not over, I allow myself to think about what has transpired in the year coming to an end, and what might lie ahead in the one to come. I also think about what I might do differently.
As you are reading this, I hope I am off to a good start on that. But I also know I can start anew on a continuing basis if that’s what I need to do.
In closing out a year when Donald Trump was elected president and the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, I won’t even guess what I might be looking back on this time next year.
Happy New Year. I appreciate your stopping by here on occasion and look forward to sharing more of What I Know in 2017.
Bob McKinney is a longtime Brentwood resident, husband of one, father of three and father-in-law of two. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.