When I was a little girl, on New Year's Eve, I would take out a piece of paper and a pencil and write my resolutions. I don't know what needed critical changing at 8 years old and really, no one required it of me, but I was an odd child and already very hard on myself. Over the years when life piled on it's disappointments and cynicism replaced hopeful wonders, my resolutions found their way less and less on a paper and more and more in my head.
Quite frankly, I became disenchanted with years of failed and unfulfilled resolutions. Nevertheless, I would come up with them anyway. A new year, a new beginning. I had faith in myself.
I don't know what happened this year. I think Thanksgiving came too fast and Christmas came even faster. When the New Year rang in, there were no fireworks or ecstatic reverie or your usual 3...2...1...Happy New Year! The pastor was still talking about not being hung up on the past and midnight came without its due anticipated celebration. By the time I got through 5 people to finally wish my husband Happy New Year, 2012 seemed to have come and gone. Don't get me wrong. It's not like I've ever celebrated the New Year outside of a church pew. Every year was met in solemn or vibrant worship but in times past, there was always some level of excitement. My cousins and I would glance over our shoulders to look at the giant clock at the back of the church and you could feel anticipation vibrating through the seats and whatever the preacher was doing, the rest of the congregation in silence chanted, 3...2...1...and hands would be squeezed and smiles would be exchanged and when the pastor released us from worship, people seemed to jump out of their seats to greet everyone with childish glee.
I don't know what happened this time. Perhaps it was just me. People said Happy New Year! and I smiled, yeah, yeah, same to you. Happy New Year.
Maybe it's because 40 is around the corner. Maybe because I'm carrying an extra 7 pounds into the new year. Maybe it was because I was just exhausted. Whatever it may be, I was unimpressed with 2012. I went to the church bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror. My God, I'm the New Year Grinch!
Today, while getting ready for a big family party, a day after the New Year, I drove to Costco and sat in the parking lot for a long time. I watched people rushing to the warehouse--droves of them. You would think the whole Staten Island was stocking up for a snowstorm. I reflected on life, on 2011, on what it all means and everything seemed hazy and blurry. And then I thought, I have got to join that drove or there will be no paper plates for this party!
"Be grateful," I heard myself say suddenly in a whisper. "Be grateful for what you have."
I thought of the single mother who lost her 22 year old son two days after Christmas. She has entered 2012 without her only son. My husband had found me sobbing in front of the computer while I watched his video on Facebook and I kept repeating, "My God, why? That poor mother. That poor, poor mother!"
And so, that is my one and only resolution. This year, I want to be more grateful. I don't know if the rush of the season had stolen my holiday cheer but whatever the reason for my daze maybe, it is ultimately trivial and unimportant.
I want to be more grateful for everything that I have. If I keep just that resolution penciled into my heart and mind, then 2012 is guaranteed to be a good year.