Wrapping up the second year of a pandemic definitely calls for new traditions. I hate to begin the last post of this year with a mention of Covid-19, but the virus has reared it’s all-too-familiar head again. Within the last two days, an in-person meeting I had scheduled was moved to zoom due to covid contraction and exposure; I was scheduled to travel abroad this month (actually, today I was supposed to be in London) but the trip was canceled; my New Years Eve party plans are threatened due to possible covid exposures during the holiday.
New traditions, like winter solstice rituals can change, and have changed over time—new years eve is no different. Changing, or developing new traditions might come from tough times.
New doesn’t necessarily mean creating something new just for the heck of it—new is often something very familiar that is suddenly seen in a new light. The beginning of the year is a time for new light, new perspectives, and traditions. Most of you might be thinking: a new year’s eve new tradition must be about new year’s resolutions. To that I’d say, no, not necessarily.
Resolutions at the new year have been around for a long time, and historically they were promises made to a god, or a host of deities. Today the practice is fairly secular, and some might say the tradition has worn thin. It reminds me of Valentine’s Day: the traditions have been so played up and commercialized that many people recognize the day with almost equally popular alternatives (Galentines parties or that couple you know that purposefully doesn’t exchange gifts or go out to dinner on February 14th). I’m one of those people; I’m tired of resolutions that feel doomed to be broken.
The fact that a resolution is made because of a certain day (that is truly just another day) makes the tradition feel arbitrary. There isn’t a real reason that I’m promising to do something during 2022 if I only do it for the sake of the day.
I have goals, and desires for 2022. I have hopes, and dare I say dreams? After 2020…and 2021, it’s difficult to plan ahead. I feel like I don’t know what will happen next. My desires for the next year are not old, familiar resolutions—because they are things that I’ve been working on for awhile.
When the New Year’s Eve party that my friends and I planned was canceled due to Covid cases amongst my friend group, I was crushed. These were people that I didn’t get to see very often, and I was looking forward to a small gathering. I was looking forward to a somewhat normal celebration. Part of me wanted to pout at home and feel sad about Covid ruining things again, but I decided to venture out. I dressed up to help get myself in a festive mood. I picked a bar that had outside seating and wasn’t too crowded. I knew that two friends would be there. Then two more showed up. Another couple arrived that I hadn’t seen in over two years. I met two new people. I made new friends. As the balloons fell and champagne was passed around I realized that I was in my hometown, surrounded by friends.
It wasn’t the evening I planned, but it felt like a new tradition.