Disclaimer: I wrote this while on a lunch break AT WORK on New Year’s Eve. I have not worked on New Year’s Eve since Y2K was a thing we weren’t sure we could survive. On 12/31/99 I was right where I needed to be – getting drunk. In a movie theater. Where I worked. While I watched “Man On The Moon.” For the 4th time.
I was definitely NOT working… and the world was better off for it. We survived Y2K, didn’t we? And Danny DeVito has a career again, doesn’t he?
For me, the end of the year is a much larger moment, and one I take the time to celebrate. This year, however, is the first year that I haven’t been off of work for the week between Christmas & New Year’s Eve, and I woefully anticipated the impacts of that. Usually in that week off, I seem to get plenty of time & space for some self-reflection, which requires reviewing the year being completed, and usually leads to plans for a new year. Reviewing the year completed, I generally start to think the next year can be better – which carries with it the implication that this one was, somehow, less than what I wanted.
But now I want to argue that with myself, based on this year’s status as an anomaly. This year, without all the time & space to analyze backwards & plan forward, I don’t really feel that 2016 is going to be markedly better because of some grand intention to make it so. There’s nothing huge sticking out at me, no giant epiphany or insight that’s leading me to say, “I’m going to make a change for the better.” In the past that has been a reliable pattern, and it must also be a significant one, because I’m noticing that it’s not repeating as expected this year. But is the anomaly this year caused by the lack of time & space? or is it simply correlated? Might the real cause be that 2015 just that good? Or that I am just that non-optimistic that 2016 can be better?
I’m feeling certain that waking up in 2016 will be no different than waking up in 2015. Is New Year’s Day a whole new clean fresh bright crisp chance to start doing things differently/better? Nope. Not feeling it.
That bothers me. Why is this year so different?
The Case for No Space
It’s New Year’s Eve afternoon, and I’m just now sitting and spending some time reflecting. Most years in the past I’ve already spent a solid day or two reflecting, planning, resolving, and am anxiously awaiting the fresh slate of opportunity that comes with that next roman numeral on the calendar. Right now I’m not anticipating anything much at all, except maybe lunch & an afternoon coffee.
I’ve been at work today. And yesterday. And the day before. I was off Christmas Eve & had the good fortune to have off on Monday. Christmas Eve I spent prepping for family visitors, for cooking Christmas dinner & for hosting a small thing on Christmas Eve. I liked all of those activities – and they led to one of the best Christmases I can remember (this year with NO gifts for family members, except for Kate). We had a nice menu, a relatively stress-free cooking session, drank some good scotch, and then played board games for a few hours after dinner. Without the upfront investment of those activities it may not have gone as smoothly, so I think they were worthwhile, but that time might have otherwise been spent walking & thinking, or just chatting with R about the year ahead. We haven’t done that yet because we then spent the weekend with family & running errands, trying to get ready for Kate’s little brother (who is currently at risk of being named Brother), and of course seeing The Big Short instead of Star Wars. Then I went back to work on Tuesday, and just haven’t spent much time simply reflecting.
The Case For 2015 Being Just That Good
Holy moley was it a whirlwind year. Spent the first 4 months finishing the 1-Year Program at the American Comedy Institute. Also started the new job (my first in retail) in March. Then Kate’s 5th birthday & reading SO MANY BOOKS together. Then we’d planned a trip to Turks & Caicos for the family, because we wanted someplace we didn’t know, someplace with water, and someplace with better weather than the NJ summers, and because I wanted to see the crystal blue waters of Vanuatu again without traveling across the globe. July was when we also found out Brother was on the way, and that a few close family members would also go through the pain of a career transition. August was spent getting Kate ready for school & me re-adjusting to not having to go into New York every Monday through Thursday for classes. We also decided to list a house for sale & dealt with the calamity of real estate agents who are bad at their jobs, buyers who don’t do the right thing, and a township that tries to assess for back taxes based on an MLS listing. (Hat tip to R for handling almost all of that with aplomb. Some of it just… well, when dealing with some people, there just isn’t enough aplomb in the world.) Then Hipcycle gears up for another holiday season, Kate is loving school, and I decide to start blogging again. Then Kate gets sick for a week, Renee needs constant ice cream deliveries, and I start having trouble getting my flabby self out of bed & to the gym in the mornings. Then it’s Q4, the closing is happening, then not happening, logistics for visiting family over the holidays are nuttier than usual, there’s a wedding in Chicago that we simply MUST attend, and oh yeah my team accomplishes a giant milestone at work that almost goes off the rails.
I know, I know… suddenly it starts to not sound just that good. But stepping outside the dramatic pace of it all, we accomplished:
- getting me out of a bad situation that was about to get worse at my old job
- the completion of the 1-year program, which was really a big freakin’ deal & which I could not have done without Team Hansen
- an answer to will we / won’t we ever give Kate a sibling, which meant we had to add a spot to the Team Hansen roster
- a definitive affirmation that Hipcycle is ours, is successful, and is growing into something valued at more than the sum of its parts thanks to Renee’s leadership
- exploring a whole new part of the world & having a great family vacation at the same time
- closed a chapter on the house that became more work & weight than it was worth, which greatly reduces the geographical constraints of future chapters
- having fun, learning & growing, while doing all of the above
That last one’s important, and the main suspect for explaining my lack of anticipation for a better 2016.
The Case For Being Non-Optimistic About 2016
There’s one really big reason that I’m potentially non-optimistic about 2016. And his name is
Donald Fucking Trump.
In an earlier draft of this post, I proceeded from here to rant & rail against what his potential nomination (and the support that potential outcome is garnering, at least according to the media) means for this country and for my faith in it. And while I still plan to stew on that a bit & make it its own post (here or in other venues), I will refrain from that at the moment, largely because it’s a giant tangent from the main thrust of this post, and also because I’ve yet to give any political angles to the stuff I post here. There’s nothing wrong with being political here – but I want to make sure I give that sort of stuff the critical thinking it deserves, and my rant, as I re-read it, was just not up to snuff.
But even without that pompous ass on the dais, there is still something nagging at me about having a blind, calendar-based jubilee about January 1st. Usually, I do. Usually, I see the need to switch to a fresh Dilbert Desk Calendar as ‘just the thing I need’ to make all the resolutions, commitments, plans and improvements I’ve been too lazy to make since last March.
This year’s different though. I actually HAVE been keeping the vast majority of my resolutions. I’ve gotten to a point where I am actually DOING all the things that are important to me to do – be a better dad, be a better husband, stay active enough to feel healthy, and balance life with work in a reasonable manner. And none of those principles, which I committed to in late 2014, have changed, and I haven’t failed at them. So they don’t need replaced, and they don’t really need revised or refined or regurgitated just because it’s January and the upper thumbtack has a lighter load. (A moment to appreciate the oft-overlooked thumbtack…. …. …. thank you.)
So 2016 feels like it will be less monumental, more incremental; less of a leap, more of a hop; less watershed, more woodshed.
That’s not a bad thing either – but the transition from anticipation to <meh> was a noticeable one, and being that the direction of it was not in the hopeful, optimistic, positive direction, I sat up & took notice.
After actually taking the time to reflect on why… it actually cleansed a chakra somewhere & things seem less… clogged. (Is that what a chakra is when it hasn’t been cleansed in a while? do they clog? get dirty? twist themselves together into some sort of chakra Twizzler?) I still don’t have any major resolutions to sally forth & declare here… but it’s nice to understand why. That in and of itself is reassuring – it’s not like I’ve become some sort of New Year’s humbug, some guy that thinks Baby New Year is just another shit-filled diaper.
So I’ve got that going for me. Which is nice.
Tags: 2016, New Year
This entry was posted on Sunday, January 3rd, 2016 at 8:34 pm and is filed under General, mood swings, resolutions, work.
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