Why I’m Skipping New Year’s This Year

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judy and bob

Every year it happens. The ‘New Year Crazies.’ The frenzy of The Best of and Worst of lists. The resolutions. The breathless waiting for the marking of the first second of the new year, as if nothing can be done to improve our lives until that precise moment.

Because, after all, it is a new year.

But when we are always looking ahead, we miss the important part, the living part.

Are we living or just marking time?

On the night before Christmas Eve, Bob started feeling a tightness in his chest and a slight dizziness. Because the last ferry to the mainland would be leaving in fifteen minutes, we took no chances and got him to the hospital.

When we arrived at the ER, I slowed down. Time slowed down. I was present in every moment, every second. I was not thinking about how I would get the Christmas Eve dinner on the table. Or how I would find time to clean the house.

Bob’s blood pressure had inexplicably spiked and the doctor was running tests to try to figure out why. I sat at his bedside, focused totally on him, watching the spiky lines on the monitor track each heartbeat, aware of every little thing that was transpiring.

How often in our lives do we this? Tune out the world and connect deeply with our spouse or partner, with no distractions?

Our culture has taught us to mark time, to pay attention to its passing, but not so much to savor each moment we are on this earth. The New Yorker cartoon says it all. The man, stopwatch in hand, is intent on changing the calendar to January 1, 2014 at precisely the moment the new year begins. His wife waits, hoping that they will share the moment together, with a sparkling glass of champagne. She is living in the present; he in the future:

 cartoon

I have never been a New Year’s resolutions kind of person. Resolutions, by their very nature, imply something we will do in the future, not the things we are doing now. Why wait until New Year’s to improve myself? If there is something of value to be done, I can start right away. I can take the time to be fully present in the moment.

If I could choose one word for 2014, it would be hope. Hope that we can all learn to respect each other’s differences. Hope that our children will lead us into a new world where compassion, love and empathy rule.

And my greatest wish for the new year? That no children—anywhere in the world—will ever again have to sing a song that intersperses a clapping game with a story about growing up and going to war:

My dad’s a soldier blue
I’ll be a soldier, too
When I grow older you
Will see me rescue you

I’ll teach you this old song
So you can sing along
When I am dead and gone
The day won’t be so long.

I leave you with a full song from the Pavarotti & Friends Together for the Children of Bosnia concert: Clap Clap! by the children’s ensemble Gam Gam:

Thanks for being a part of this community.

Update on Bob: Bob is home and doing fine. At the hospital, his blood pressure returned to normal almost as fast as it had shot up. The tests, thank God, found nothing out of the ordinary. He (we) will continue on the low-fat, low-sodium diet and exercise regimen we started in October. We are working on budgeting for a treadmill, which will allow him to slowly increase the intensity of his exercise and get real-time stats on his progress. And you know what? We are living in the moment. It’s really the only way to go.

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Comments

  1. says

    Judy, what a poignant reminder to live in the present. I’m so sorry you had a scare with Bob, but thank God he’s OK. Glad to hear you’re making some lifestyle changes to be healthier. Good for you.

    All the best to you.

    • says

      Arden,

      Thanks. We have a lot to be grateful for this year. It helps that we both need to be doing the same things. As a friend of mine said to me, “That makes it so much easier.” Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2014!

  2. says

    Judy, I am so glad Bob is fine now. Choosing one word for the new year rather than a list of resolutions is a welcome change. Your word “hope” is good. The Writer magazine asked on Facebook what our one word was for 2014. They had a photo of 2014 printed in a notebook. That was it for me. Right then I knew my word for 2014: simply 2014! (with the exclamation mark).

    The girls in the gold vests singing in your accompanying video are delightful. But I, too, hope for the day when children no longer sing about growing up and going to war.

    Is your photo an “oldie but goody” one of you and Bob?

    With my best wishes for a wonderful 2014.

    • says

      Barbara,

      Wow. Haven’t heard from you in a long time! Any version of the word “simple” works for me. The photo? It was taken in 1989, I believe, at a restaurant in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California, where we were living at the time. As I was looking for photos, I realized that we took many, many more in our earlier years than we do now. All my best to you, too, for an amazing 2014!

  3. says

    Judy, Just sat down to read emails. Sorry to hear of Bob’s blood pressure spike, but glad to hear all is back to normal. We had a close one too this week when Bill fell while showering. He has cracked ribs and is in great pain, but it could have been so much worse. At 71 and 74 we’re grateful for every moment we have together. Things can change in an instant.

    Happy New Year to both of you,

    Joan

  4. says

    Judy, I’m so glad that Bob is AOK, and I’m so with you. I’m not big on resolutions. I do set priorities for the year, and I’m committed to those. 2014 will be a year of change for me, I know. Wishing you all the best, today and always! Cheers! Kaarina

    • says

      Kaarina! Great to connect with you again. I have heard that from a lot of people lately, that they think 2014 will be a year of change. Seems that for some of us, ’13 hasn’t been a particularly stellar year. We are launching our brand new WordPress membership site this month, so there will be lots of new stuff for us. I’ll get my head together and figure out a few times for that Skype call. :)

  5. says

    Hahahahaha…I do have a gravatar, so I don’t know why I’m showing up as an alien, but I kinda’ like the look :) Must figure out what’s going on here, and get back to my “normal” self, whatever that is ;)

    • says

      You know, this happened before and you figured out that you had a typo in your email or some such thing. I have no idea why it’s happened again except that I noticed in the backend, in the comments, you had a different email than the one I’m used to seeing. Maybe that one isn’t connected to your avatar/gravatar?

    • says

      Actually, I need to record this interaction for the history books. I helped someone with a tech issue? Maybe living with Bob is beginning to have an effect on me. (He’ll be proud.)

  6. says

    Hi Judy, Hello to you, and it was great to meet Bob at last evening’s Seattle WP Meetup. Glad to see that he’s doing better! Cheers, Steve

    PS – My website address (entered as part of this comment) should be marked with an asterisk (*), because it’s a slow, frustrating WordPress work-in-process…

    • says

      Steve, Glad you could attend the Meetup and thanks for visiting the community here. And, you know what? I’ve had a WordPress site for many years and I will just say that it is still a work-in-progress/process, too. Luckily I have Mr. bobWP to help me with it.

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