Cheers! (Or Why I Hate NYE)

New Year’s Eve. I’ve never been a fan. Even in my harder-partying twenties, I didn’t really see the appeal of this “holiday.” I like a celebration as much as the next guy—maybe more than the next guy, especially when it involves sparkly attire—but what’s the purpose of NYE? The thought of it conjures images from that sad scene in Forrest Gump: the grainy 1960s feel of the seedy bar, Forrest and Lieutenant Dan kissing strange women at the ball drop, the boozy, discordant sound of kazoos.

It’s a holiday that always seems to revolve around an odd sort of mournful merrymaking.  Isn’t it strange to revel in the fact of the last page of the calendar? Isn’t it sort of nonsensical to applaud that the old year (and its mistakes, missed opportunities, disasters, and heartbreaks) is behind us and that the next day brings a new, unblemished year of possibility (which, by its end will prove to have been similarly filled with mistakes, missed opportunities, disasters, and heartbreaks)? It’s made sillier by the fact that all of this is true on every other day of the year too. Every day is the beginning of a new year.

Do we really need a global day of looking backwards?

I’m a reflective, nostalgic person—to my own detriment, probably—and I’ve been trying to look backwards less. I’ve also been trying to soften the volume of that voice in my head that since having children has with increasing urgency been whispering time is passing, time is passing. Maybe this explains my NYE disdain; I just don’t care much for a holiday that encourages regret.

I can feel myself verging on a rant here. Sorry about that! I’ll change my attitude right now!

I grow flowers, and when it comes to growing flowers, looking back is not possible. Not really. Perhaps that’s one of gardening’s qualities I find most attractive. I’m thankful that in the garden reflections must be brief and that backwards glances are necessarily momentary. I’m very grateful that there can be no dwelling on past failures or over-analysis of what went wrong. Next season is always coming and that forces my energies into forward motion.

I need that in my life. I need less looking back.

The flowers never look back. They don’t overthink. They don’t beat themselves up over failures. They’re always growing, always reaching, always stretching toward the light. Better yet, they’re always dragging us along with them, out of bed or off the couch or away from the computer, into the fields, into the fresh air, into becoming our best and (I hope) most fulfilled selves, and into creative and collaborative endeavors of all kinds.

I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions (shocking!), but I’m going to make one right here: over the next 365 days I’m going to think less about the past and more about the future. I’m going to stretch toward the light.

Cheers, friends!

Mary Beth McConaheyComment