Happy Old Year
Today is the last day of 2023. It is 10:30 a.m. and I have just arrived at my desk to start my office hours which begin at 9:00 a.m. sharp. In my defense, there is an awesome jigsaw puzzle under construction on the dining room table which I only work on outside of office hours. Theoretically. (As I am self-employed, I can say with 100% certainty that my boss is really fed up with my behaviour this week.)
Anyhow . . . sitting at the puzzle table by myself this morning allowed my brain to roam freely, which is a good thing – perhaps a necessary thing – for creativity. And, it being December 31, my mind eventually began to wonder about the ways in which we say good-bye to outgoing years.
Now, where I live, many people have a rather loose relationship with the Gregorian calendar. A fair number of people in my community might fail to notice this is New Year’s Eve at all. On my island, tonight is less Happy New Year, and more Thank the goddess we’re past the Solstice and have you got your seed catalogue yet?
And of course, there are more than 25 different dates to celebrate the start of a new year, depending on your culture. But most people will be marking this day in some way.
Many people don’t say good-bye to the old year at all. They just skip right to the welcoming of the new year. And there are as many ways to do that as there are people in this world.
But in the past few years, I have heard more about saying good-bye to the old year. I suppose that has to do with having just gone through a global pandemic. There were a lot of slamming doors and shouts of good riddance the last few December thirty-firsts.
But as I worked on the puzzle, ignoring the nagging of my boss, I wondered how people will be saying good-bye to 2023. It was a weird year in many ways. Still feeling the relief of the end of the pandemic, yet now facing the aftershocks to the world economy, not to mention the quickly-accelerating effects of climate change. More war, more suffering, more displacement, more of a long list of terrible things that hang over our heads like storm clouds, absorbing every last ray of light.
I wish I was the sort of person who could ignore the clouds and hold the light of hope in my heart. But it’s hard. As I said to a friend last night, The FACTS of my life are all good, but at the moment, my emotions don’t match the facts.
But facts are facts and emotions ebb and flow. So, with my eyes firmly set on the good fortune of my life, I wonder about my own rituals for saying good-bye to 2023. I’ve done some reading about how people mark the end of the year and I’ve decided that they fall – very loosely – into three basic categories.
In the first group, are people who treat the end of the year like a memorial service. Perhaps they are truly mourning the end of a great year – a beloved friend gone too soon. Or, maybe they just planned a very artsy funeral for someone they actually didn’t like all that much.
Second group is comprised of those who, if pressed into written expression, would be writing a nasty break-up letter. I mean, nasty. With mild to moderate name-calling.
And third, are those who are wrapping up loose ends and shaking hands with 2023. Like ending a business contract. I think I’m in this group. And actually, the contract went well. We experienced more gains than losses, more successes than failures, and overall, it was a very good year.
Thanks, 2023. It’s been a pleasure working with you.
Now, if you will excuse me, I have a puzzle to finish.
Image from Unsplash (deepblue4you)
I’m on another dog sit; happily cohabitating with a couple of Boston terriers for a few days to immerse myself in the writing world. However, I have been distracted by a small moral dilemma. Today, I am wondering if it is always the right thing to do to tell the truth. In this case, do I tell these two new friends the truth:
Now, in the dog world, everyone knows that Bosties are in their own category. They march to a different drummer – an enthusiastic, energetic drummer, with no discernable sense of rhythm.
But these two Bosties are another thing entirely. There is no way that these two little puddings are aware that they are dogs. In case you’re skeptical, allow me to present my evidence for suspecting that my new roommates are delusional.
First, there’s the farting.
I have occasionally met dogs who look slightly chagrined by their own farts. Sometimes, puppies can be quite shocked to find they’ve sprung a leak. But never have I heard these dainty little squeaks that were clearly suppressed as much as possible, followed by a look of absolute mortification. I’m telling you, June (not her real name) looks like the organist at church who tried to fart during the loud part of the music and mistimed it tragically.
Second, the blankets.
I will allow that some dogs – often terriers – like to be snuggled under the blankets at night. But during the day? All day? And I’m pretty sure June switched beds once to get the blanket that matches her collar.
Third is the disdain for the great outdoors.
And no, it isn’t cold. Or raining. Or windy. It’s really nice. I know because I just returned from a lovely walk through beautiful trails. Without any dogs!
When I left on the walk, I tried to talk them into it even though their Mama said not to worry about walking them. It was so counter intuitive to leave the dogs to go for a walk, that I could barely do it. I decelerated unconsciously as I headed to the door, to the point that I was almost in slow motion by the time I reached the exit, using every doggy-approved version of the word WALK that I could think of. Nothing worked. Not even Walkies in my Ethel Murman voice.
I have to drag these two outside for a pee. Watching Roland (not his real name, but probably should be) tiptoe around the patio for a suitable spot to step off the concrete onto the – egads! – wet grass is a painful display of daintiness more befitting a middle-aged museum curator than a dog. Once the unpleasantness has been taken care of, he rushes back to his little bed with the fleecy blankets.
(Hold on a minute while I soak their kibble in hot water so it’s easier to chew.)
Where was I? Ah yes, the moral dilemma. Should I sit them down and tell them that they are – and I’m whispering now – dogs? I’m pretty sure they would just look back at me with the look of incredulity that I have received with each suggestion of walk. Or play. Or fetch. Or anything that could be classified as a ‘dog thing’.
Perhaps I should test my theory first and suggest a museum visit to Roland? Perhaps an organ recital for Miss June? If that gets a different response, I’ll know. But that still won’t solve my dilemma. Tell them they’re dogs, or continue to play along?
Sometimes dog-sitting is a lot more complicated than you’d think.
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