Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Brand Spankin' New Year

No matter how much you muck up your year, every January 1 at one second past 12:00 a.m., you get a brand new shiny year, fresh out of the box, unused, unworn, untarnished. It is perfect and it is yours. 

When you buy a new car, the moment you drive it off the lot, it loses a portion of it's value. The first time you discover a rogue shopping cart resting against your bumper when you exit a store after an afternoon of shopping, your heart sinks as you realize your new car is not new anymore. It's dinged, it's lost value, and it needs to be washed. You wonder why you ever bought a brand new car when every nick and mark hurts your heart so. Maybe next time you'll just buy used. Meanwhile, you still have several years to drive this one in its never-as-good-as-new state.

You walk out of the hair salon with a new cut and feel great. Your stylist has again created a masterpiece of hair and you feel like you should be rushed directly to the nearest fashion runway because you look so good. So. damn. good. After a busy afternoon of going everywhere and seeing everyone possible -- to get the most mileage out of your new 'do -- you settle into bed and drift off to sleep. You deserve some rest, beautiful new hairdo. You really worked it today. Then the morning comes,
and the new cut is misshapen and looks vaguely like Albert Einstein was your hairstyle inspiration. It's just never the same again, never quite as good as the first day, the first moments after your stylist completed the masterpiece.

The New Year arrives. Champagne toasts, confetti, music, and laughter surround the birth of a brand new year, and you vow to make this one the best ever. You list your resolutions: 1) lose weight 2) quit that nagging habit finally 3) visit your grandmother 4) adopt a cat. After three weeks, you just don't feel like going to the gym one day so you skip a day. Just one day, you say, and then you'll go again. By mid-February, you have no idea where your gym membership card is, your nagging habit is stronger than ever (driven by the guilt of abandoning your other resolution), grandma's house seems just so far away, and the cat? Well, that just seems like too much responsibility for this time in your life. By June, you have gained five pounds, and Grandma has begun leaving voice mail messages more guilt-laden than that taunting gym membership card, which you find under the seat of the car about August. The year and it's once-glowing resolutions are a bust. 

You are seven years old and just opened your Christmas presents with one special present you have wanted for so long. It's that whiz-bang toy you wished, and wished, and prayed, and wished for over the last several months. When you ripped open the gift wrapping, your heart skipped a beat and you tore into the box like a hungry animal. The next three days, you and the new toy are inseparable. You show all your friends, you show all your family, you show your friends again, and you play with it for hours. Then, in an instant, you hear a *snap* and realize you just broke your favorite new toy/friend. You try to hide it from your parents, but your brother rats you out, and you hear the dreaded words, "Get the glue because you're not getting a new one." Over the next days, you try to play with the glued and taped version of your once-favorite toy, but it's not the same. 

Then, there's New Year's Day. 

Your year can be completely ruined, whether by choice or circumstance, and at the stroke of midnight, The Clock shows up and gives you a brand new year. Sparkling and new, it's all yours to try again. To try for better. To try to at least not break it. It's not a hand-me-down year, not used, not refurbished, not nicked or dinged or stained. It is your brand-new-out-of-the-box year, addressed to you. 

Enjoy it. Play with it. Have some fun with it. Glue back the broken parts and keep going. If it gets so worn that it's nearly unrecognizable, just wait. A new year will be delivered again, same time, next year.

Happy New Year to you all. May 2015 bring you everything you wish.

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