When I look back at some of the New Years of the past, it is like looking at different chapters in my life. Nothing used to make me feel older that the changing of the year. Seasons may come and go, even birthdays may pass, but a New Year means that I have completed yet another year of life.
I used to love going to parties and drink a toast or two as the ball for the New Year began to fall. I used to make resolutions on things I could do to improve my life, and I'd make a promise to myself that I would do this or that. But as the years passed, I did less and less until pretty soon I was spending New Year alone looking at old movies or thinking of a poem or short story to write.
Last year I, met a man who told me that 2008 would mark his 86th New Year and that he was looking forward to seeing his next one in 2009. I am nowhere near that number. I was going to write of a past New Year but decided to talk a little about the coming new year.
The last half of 2008 has been a devastating time for all of us. In some ways, it reminds me of what my uncle John once told me about living through the Depression. He said that our family was not as bad off as a lot of other people, but that times were tough and there was a lot of worry about what was down the road. He said that his father my grandfather was the only optimist in the family. "Dad took it one day at a time and never looked back, only forward," he said. I think that is still true today.
Strangely, as I get older, I am beginning to feel more optimistic about the future.
When I was younger and going through the rat race of life, I sometimes wished I could stop the world and get off. Now I get up each morning wondering what the day will bring. I'm not saying every day is like this, but most are.
Somehow I believe that the dawn of 2009 is going to be a bright, sunny day. George Burns put it best when he said "Look to the future because that's where you'll spend the rest of your life." Have a happy and healthy 2009.