The very first Monday of the new year! This time of year, I muse backward and forward. In other words, I muse a lot. There is nothing like musing backwards, when one is wearing the clear lens of hindsight. I will have to say that I have very few regrets. To me, regrets remind me of Marley's chains and shackles, long, clanking weights that drag you down and keep you from moving forward. Since there is seldom a way to un-do what has been done, I try to find some nugget of good from whatever sticky mess I've wrested myself and put it in my pocket for future contemplation.
Having a birthday on New Year's Day is a double-edged sword. People tend to remember my birthday (good and bad, depending on how hard I am trying to forget it!) and I get my birthday off from work (saving myself from the dreadful "office celebration"). That's the good part. Ish. Ever since I have hit middle age, I have tended to try to ignore birthdays with a vengeance. This is difficult in a family where birthdays are celebrated no matter what and especially if it's on New Year's Day. Part of our celebration as kids was to be able to choose our own birthday meal. If I had been born on any other day, I would have chosen my mom's macaroni and cheese, with carrot and raisin salad and a Hough Bakery white cake with white frosting and pink and green roses. Instead, I got roast duck, mashed potatoes, baked tangerines, and a plum pudding. While this might sound just grand, imagine the horror a roast duck presented to an 8-year-old who held Twinkies in a reverential light. This was only, however, because we were never given a Twinkie! Put the taboo on anything, and I NEEDED it! (Unfortunately, this still holds true today.) But, since we were good, compliant children, I suffered through this yearly meal, harboring a deep resentment towards everything but the mashed potatoes.
This year is a rather monumental year for me. I have hit a milestone that I could never even contemplate even five years ago. Call me Cleo, Queen of DeNile. But I am taking a different tack this year. I am embracing it! I am rolling in it, glorying in it, giving it a big warm hug! I am LYING! I really just got worn down with everyone wanting to know what I was going to do to celebrate - offering me all kinds of advice, and not even letting me contemplate what I had originally wanted to do. Which was nothing. Nada. Zip. So who started all this birthday celebration nonsense anyway? Hallmark? Sara Lee? Duncan Hines? I'd like to have a little tete-a-tete with the guilty party.
Quite frankly, I am my most stressed on New Year's Eve. For some reason, every year on that day, I want to slam on the brakes and go backwards. I panic about the year being forever lost. Then I get over it because I can't stop it, wacky doodle that I am. Another big plus, in my book, is that I can finally relax and enjoy winter (remind me I said that when I'm up to my knees in snow and ice) and the respite it brings. I could never contemplate NOT having this break - even for all the cold and snow and ice. Thanks to the generous nature of my friends and neighbors, I am pretty much ready for it this year. I have lots of things to do inside - and some of them are actually fun! Can I stand it? You betcha.