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Monday, May 20, 2024

I wish you a Pretty Darned Alright New Year

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Around this time each year, in that limbo week between Christmas and New Year’s, I love seeing social media posts from people who are ready to charge headlong into the new year, sword raised and a battle cry on their lips.

They’ve got their party supplies on standby and have already done all the prep work for the snack smorgasbord. They’ll spend the weekend delightedly entering important dates and appointments into the planner they got for Christmas, journaling, and setting their goals and intentions for the coming 12 months. And when the bells of midnight chime on Sunday, they’ll propel into 2024 like a cork from a champagne bottle, full of optimism, enthusiasm and hope.

And when I say I “love” seeing those posts, I mean love in the way you love things you know that you yourself will never, ever, ever do.

To make clear, I’m not making fun of those people. I wish I were those people. 

In fact, every year, I somehow convince myself that I will magically turn into those people at midnight like a modern-day Cinderella — that the Halloween pumpkin still sitting on my porch will transform into a FedEx truck and fly into the night to deliver all those Christmas gifts I didn’t manage to send on time (again). 

That a shower of sparkles will surround me and, when they fade, my pajama pants, worn-out Reebok slides, and No Doubt Tragic Kingdom Tour ’97 t-shirt with a hole in the armpit will have become an ensemble befitting of someone who woke up early enough to dress themselves like an adult woman.

That a jolly band of mice and geese will dance through the door, clean the house, pop some Chex Party Mix in the oven, and put out the eEdition. And maybe turn all that leftover Christmas candy into Triscuits or something while they’re at it.

But from where I sit on Dec. 29, having worn the armpit-hole t-shirt to work because I was in a hurry after covering the morning basketball games, I reckon I’m going to be disappointed again this year. Midnight will come and go, and I’ll still be trying to pry the cork out of the bottle. I still won’t be those people.

I’m thinking, though, that I might try to be okay with that this year. That instead of trying to make 2024 the best year ever, I should just concede that — particularly since I can’t drink caffeine — it’s okay to settle for making it a completely average, run-of-the-mill, unremarkable year.

I realise that sentiment will never make it onto a Hallmark card, but hear me out. 

It’s a lot to ask of those adorable little top-hatted, be-sashed babies that every single one of them be the best one yet. You can’t expect every single one of your kids to become brain surgeons; you’re very lucky if one does, and you don’t make the others feel bad about themselves when they don’t. Neither can we make the New Years feel inadequate if they don’t all bring us health, happiness and a big lotto win. 

I mean, just think about 2020. Having literally everyone in the world declare you a failure at the age of 3 months can’t be easy.

I’m not saying we can’t hope for the best. Hope is what keeps us sane. But perhaps we can just treat the good things that happen to us in this coming year as a pleasant surprise — a bonus — rather than an expectation or something we feel we’re owed.

And it’s not pessimism to prepare for the fact that at least a few things aren’t going to go our way. A little rain must fall, as the saying goes, and while we’re hoping for the best, we can also hope for a slightly inconvenient drizzle rather than a torrential downpour.

In short, let’s not pin our happiness to pristine, monumental triumphs. Let’s seek and find it in the day-to-day instead. Not that I want to keep trotting out 2020 — the kid’s still in therapy, after all — but it’s pretty easy to find simple things to be happy about if we compare and contrast. 

Be happy every time you don’t have to stand in a line outside Wal-Mart on the off chance you MIGHT be able to purchase toilet paper. Be happy that we can take Lysol for granted again. And on a serious note, be happy that our medical professionals and “essential workers” can focus once again on the “regular” incredible things they do for us on a daily basis — and thank them!

Gratefully tuck into a warm meal on these cold nights, visit your friends and loved ones in these final days of another holiday season, watch children get hyper and overstimulated one last time in 2023, and put your feet up at the end of a long day.

The new year might just offer you one or two opportunities to be overwhelmingly elated. I can only hope that for you. But I can guarantee that it will offer us all plenty of seemingly inconsequential chances to be pretty darned alright. And this time around, let’s let that be enough.

Here’s wishing you a prosaic 2024. And you know that I mean that in the best way possible.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Brienne Green can be reached at editor@artesianews.com.)

Brienne Green
Daily Press Editor

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