New Year’s Eve is, to me, not a great holiday. I love Christmas, but the night before January 1st…not so much. A good night to stay in with my spouse, drink a little sparkly something and enjoy not being at a party or on the road. That said, I enjoy the sappy NYE scene in When Harry Met Sally. Actually, I enjoy all of WHMS. I remember when I first saw it: I was living in Paris, studying and working, and I went out with my roommates to see it. I just loved it. I think I needed it at the time. Yes, I know Billy Crystal is way too old to play Harry, and yes, I know it’s a Woody Allen knock-off, but both of those things are small quibbles, in my view. Get over yourselves, film students, and enjoy this happy ending:
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.
Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.
- Alfred, Lord Tennyson
I know many will be happy to say goodbye to 2020. For me, the restrictions weren’t that bad. I am introverted – extremely so – and fairly misanthropic, so enjoyed having an easy out when it came to not dealing with humans. There were certainly people I missed, and activities – travel would be number one on that list – but in general, I did not find it rough going, as did others. I am lucky: I am not alone; I get along with Significant Other; I have shelter and food.
The low point was the death of my brother from Covid. We were not close, but he was my brother and the loss was painful for my sister-in-law. This doesn’t mean I am not worried about the effects of the pandemic and the decisions various governments have made about lockdowns and such. I take the pandemic seriously, but I am enough of a libertarian that I think we need/needed a better debate about how much personal freedom can be denied to people, as well as about risk-avoidance.
I tried to use the time I had productively: I finished one big writing project and made some headway with another – though I had hoped to finish that one, as well. One lives in hope.
On a superficial note, I gained weight this year — I am officially a “pandemic fattie” — something about which I am not happy. So Bridget Jones’ first resolution here is the only one we have in common. Obviously, will lose 20 pounds. Twenty years ago, when the film first came out, Bridget and I had all of the same resolutions. I gather I have made some progress in this life.
I would say my list from last year could easily be repeated/continued, except for #14, which I accomplished and have absolutely no intention of doing again.
This has been making the rounds on the internets, and I think it’s lovely. Apparently, these were Jacques Brel’s New Year’s wishes for 1968 and they are just as suited to 2017. I’m too lazy to translate them for you, so if you can’t read French, it’s time to learn.
Friends, readers, please enjoy this New Year’s Eve greeting, brought to you by ABBA. May your 2017 be as excellent as ABBA’s lyrics. Not being ironic – I believe they were among the best pop music lyricists in modern times. And they weren’t even writing in their own languages. I love all the Scando-angst in this song, and the Bergman-esque angles in the video. (On another note, what I wouldn’t give for a dress like the one Agneta is wearing.)
- Always keep New Year’s resolutions.
- Get up early and get right out of bed and meditate for ten minutes before starting day (but only after coffee). Am already doing that this morning.
- Lose weight. Get more fit. Before this happens:
- Cut down on wine intake, no matter how stressed I am. Find other ways to handle stress, such as herbal tea.
- Do something creative/career-oriented every day, and not just watch old episodes of ’70s TV shows on YouTube.
- Be more patient with other humans and also with myself.
- Be less gutless.
- Be less of a ridiculous person.
- Don’t buy any more lipsticks/lip glosses until have used up all the ones I have, which are myriad.
- Remember I am lucky to be alive and healthy (touch wood).
- Be a better girlfriend to Significant Other, who puts up with me for reasons I will never understand.
- Help as many animals as I can.
- Try to be as vegan as I can.
- Read Finnegans Wake (and don’t put an apostrophe in the title, even though I really want to. Joyce wanted the title that way, and yes, I realize it means something).
- Fight my natural introversion and actually go out sometimes to see friends and family instead of merely maintaining relationship with them over social media.
- Remember that life is just a bowl of cherries. Don’t take it serious. It’s too mysterious:
It is…not, but try to believe it is! Happy 2016, dear readers.
Born on this day in 1449, Lorenzo de Medici, “Il Magnifico.” He wrote — among other things — the following words:
Quant’ e bella giovinezza,
Che si fugge tuttavia!
Chi vuol esser lieto, sia:
di doman non c’e certezza.
If you know any romance languages, you can probably figure that out, but just in case, it says (more or less), “How beautiful is youth (or how beautiful is it to be young)/which nevertheless disappears (runs away)/Be happy all who wish to be/of tomorrow there is no certainty.”
Basically, “enjoy life while you can.”
I am currently reading this book, from which I am learning a good deal. Tim Parks’ non-fiction are always terrific. (Not saying his novels aren’t terrific, I just haven’t read any of them — yet.)
Update: Ok, I just finished the afore-linked Tim Parks book and it includes his translation of the bit of poetry above. His translation is, obviously, better than mine. Here it is: How fine youth is/Though it flee away/Let he who wishes, enjoy/Nothing’s certain tomorrow.
…for the coming new year (and for any time, come to think of it). It is from the pen (or perhaps typewriter) of Doris Lessing.
Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.