For many years, New Year’s Eve was my favorite time of the year. Some of that love was attached directly to wearing a new dress, enjoying a nice dinner and attending a loud party surrounded by great music and lots of laughter.
But the majority of my love for New Year’s Eve began to roll around in my chest shortly after 11 p.m. I quietly watched as the world prepared for the stroke of midnight. It often started with plastic glasses being placed on tables, along with bottles of champagne. You could feel the energy in the room changing with the minutes on the clock. By 11:45 p.m., those who had strayed a bit from their loved ones began to search the room, scan the crowd and couple up again before that big moment at midnight.
By the time the actual count began, I had tears in my eyes and stars in my chest. 10, 9, 8, 7… I looked around me, wondering what people were hoping for in the New Year. Was it a new job? Maybe a committed love? A child? A brand-new 12-month span of all new chapters? By the time midnight finally arrived, balloons were dropped and people were kissing, hugging, smiling.
Each year, wherever I celebrated, I watched the New Year stop in at just the right moment, pull people together, make them focus, hold on tight to each other and wish again for something new and better. Many times, that magic at midnight overflowed and led complete strangers to kiss and hug and wish each other well. It thrilled me to see people drop their guards, kick down their walls and simply enjoy an awesome moment with everyone else within arm’s length.
This New Year’s Eve, I would guess that many of us look forward to economic change, opportunities for new jobs and new chances to either hold on to what we have or get back what we lost. We learned a lot this year about hard times and how we discover that our needs aren’t really quite as many as we might have initially believed them to be. We just had the needs confused for a while with the wants.
But in 2012, millions of us will step forward knowing we can and will survive. And we will be better human beings with much more commendable priorities because of the struggles we have faced.
In a few days, I will spend some quiet time hoping that by next New Year’s Eve, I will want to buy a new dress and dance all night. I will hope to want to make fun plans and greet a whole new year of fresh starts. But until then, I will greet 2012 with a bowl of popcorn in my lap and a cute movie on the TV. New Year’s Eve doesn’t always have to be loud and crowded to be magical.
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