I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions. It’s too easy to fail in reaching my goal whatever it may be. A new workout regimen will inevitably be interrupted by illness or other circumstance resulting in frustration. I don’t believe in diets, so there’s no point in promising to count calories. I do believe in setting goals, though. I just try to make them achievable and reasonable. Sure, New Year’s Eve is a great time to make a resolution. A goal is easier to track if it all fits on one calendar, but I hate to watch my friends and associates make all sorts of promises to themselves and the world on social media only to see silence on the matter weeks later knowing they’re probably kicking themselves pretty hard for setting such lofty goals for themselves.
I, too, set some pretty lofty goals on New Year’s Eve for myself, but it’s not something I usually share. It’s not like that birthday wish you’re supposed to keep to yourself in fear it won’t come true, either, but a New Year’s Eve resolution is deeply personal to me.
My yearly tradition started in high school. Hormones were high and emotions were magnified. I had a small group of friends that got really close. However, our little group had two males and two females, so I’m sure you can guess what happened. Two of us decided they wanted to spend more time with each other than with all of us. The other had a crush on me, but I saw him more as a little brother than a potential date. When the other two took their relationship too far, he didn’t understand why I objected to us pairing off.
The dynamics of our little group changed, and feelings got hurt. As usual, I found myself out in the cold without friends to call on during winter break. I was heartbroken. Two of my friends had chosen to break a promise that we had all made to each other and it had huge consequences. I was truly depressed and lost because of it.
That December 31st, I decided to stay up to see in the new year for the first time. As the clock rolled closer to midnight, I surfed the channels on my portable TV until I came across Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin Eve. People were packed in Times Square full of anticipation for the ball to drop.
As I watched the show, I reflected on the ups and downs of the last year and decided to make a resolution. But, I couldn’t just make any resolution. As countdown started, and the ball began to drop, I looked over towards two candles I had lit to brighten my sullen mood. There would be no resolution in the normal sense of the word, but there would be a promise to myself. It had to be something attainable and positive. It still didn’t feel like enough. I needed something a little more out of my control. I also needed a wish that could be possible to come true.
When the ball came down and the clock struck 12:00, I took each candle in my hands and blew them out one after the other as if I were blowing away all of the drama and troubles from the previous year. The first candle represented my promise that the next year would end on a better note. I will have made better choices and my life better and wouldn’t feel so down and depressed. The second candle represented my New Year’s wish that I wouldn’t feel so alone. I wished that more solid friendships would come and that I would have the wisdom to know how to keep them. I wanted to end the next year smarter and stronger having learned from any tough times I might face.
An hour before midnight the following year, I sat in my room and reflected on my little ritual and realized it had worked. I was stronger, smarter, and happier than that tearful night one year before. Every year since, I repeat the ritual. Often, the wish might change, but the promise is always the same.
Over the years, I’ve found myself sharing my tradition with a few. Most thought it was a wonderful idea, but never quite grasped the concept, and that’s okay. It’s just one of the things I do for myself in order to stay on track in my life. It’s truly private for me, and they don’t have to get it.
Almost every year, I find I’ve had some success from this little custom. As I reflect on this past year, I find that my uncharacteristically unattainable wish miraculously came through when I certainly didn’t expect it to. The promise, on the other hand, was a complete failure. I’m not going to come close to ending this year on a high note. I have nobody but myself to blame, either. I let a lot of negativity in my life and I’m now suffering the consequences both mentally and physically. This year, I’ll need my little ceremony more than I have in a long time. I need a new outlook and a fresh start. Blowing away the misery, sadness, and anger of my recent past with the snuffing of a candle wick seems like just the ticket.
So, this New Year’s Eve, you’ll find me sitting here alone with two candles, a bottle of bubbly, and a whole lot of hope. To start it off right, I’m creating a new “champagne” cocktail. A little Prosecco with some Pama pomegranate liqueur is my new cocktail for the year. I’m more than happy to stay safe at home to enjoy it. I have no interest in joining the other revelers out there or putting my life on the line trying to get home safe. I just want stay home and heal. It’s a great opportunity to just sit here and be me.