Back in November I wrote that Thanksgiving Day is my favorite day of the year. I must have been living in the moment or I would have remembered that New Year’s Day is my actual favorite. Thanksgiving runs a very close second.
New Year’s Day edges out Thanksgiving only because I get so excited when I anticipate the arrival of a new year. As much as I enjoy Thanksgiving, I don’t think much about it ahead of time. And when it gets here, my gratitude always seems to be about what is or has been.
New Year’s Day, on the other hand, is all about looking forward. I pretty much keep a running tally in my head of things that need changing in my life, so I don’t have to do a lot of reflection as the new year approaches. I know exactly which things I’d like to do better, more of, less of, differently. I enjoy wallowing in my old ways on the last few days of the year, knowing that once that magical calendar page turns, it’ll be a whole new ball game.
I fantasize that I will instantly become more energetic, more health-conscious, and better organized, and that I will vacuum more frequently. Those goals have carried over from one year to the next for several years now.
More realistically, I promise myself I will drastically decrease the number of times I say “a--hole” during morning drive time, even though the people to whom the term applies will still be on the road. I will drink no more than four Diet Cokes a day, and none after six p.m. I’ll use the DVR to record must-see TV that comes on at nine p.m. or later. That way I can go to bed earlier, read for half an hour or more, and still be able to get a good night’s sleep. Getting enough sleep is problematic for me, and I'm resolved to make it a priority this year.
Yesterday I stripped the bed and washed all the bedding, including the mattress pad, blanket, and bedspread. I wanted to go to sleep in 2007 and wake up in 2008 in fresh, clean sheets. Can you appreciate the symbolism of that gesture?
There were fireworks last night, of course. From just after dark until two in the morning, bombs burst in the air, each one accompanied by a whistle or an explosion of the sort that normally freaks out Butch and Kadi. I felt fortunate that the dogs seemed to be managing their fear better than usual. Butch found a good spot and stayed there without moving, asleep or pretending to be. Kadi’s eyes were visible, her pupils dilated enormously. She stayed close to my side but, in spite of her fright, didn’t attempt to climb on top of my head or shoulders even once. I thought that showed great improvement.
At bedtime I took the dogs outside one at a time, on an extra-long lead, to do their business. In the past they’ve refused to go, but last night they risked it, and at least one of us went to bed happy.
Butch curled up on his bed, and Kadi lay in her usual spot on mine, snuggled close to the body pillow that lies between us. She shivered and panted as the fireworks continued, but her behavior wasn't panicky. At midnight, when the outside noise was at its greatest, I stretched out my arm to pet her. Reaching for her in the dark, my hand encountered a giant wet spot right under her rear end. She may not have panicked in her usual way, but she’d peed in my nice, clean bed and lain right there in it for who knows how long.
So, my symbolic fresh start ended right there in the soiled sheets. But I will not view the peeing incident as an omen.
Happy 2008, everybody!