So, it’s New Year’s Eve. And I’m in my slippers and planted on my couch and its not even 10:00pm yet. My glass of wine is within reach, there is leftover takeout in the fridge, and I’ve got Season 1 of Parenthood on tap for the rest of the evening.
It’s a far cry from New Years past. And I would be lying if I said I didn’t entertain a few notions of taking my night up a notch. The most ridiculous one involved me putting on a sparkle outfit, replete with sequined mini skirt, tights, and heels, and having a candle lit dinner with my 18-month-old child. (It’s almost embarrassing to admit that.) Luckily I came to my senses and ordered Chinese instead.
Although it would be nice to be sharing tonight with someone who doesn’t eat at 5:30pm and call it lights out by 8:00pm (at the latest), for the most part, I’m doing exactly what I wanted to do. Yes, I know I’m lame, and I’m okay with it. But on the plus side of not paying out the you-know-what for a night on the town and then making sure I get my money’s worth out of cheap champagne (only to regret it the next morning), I am left with a few hours to really take stock of what 2011 was all about.
Since I wasn’t going to hear it tonight, I decided to look up the words to Auld Lang Syne; I never really knew what the words were even though I’m pretty sure I’ve belted out the chorus like it was my job before. I always thought the message was to not let your past be forgotten, but it turns out that the song really asks a question–whether or not it’s right that old times be forgotten. So, really, it assumes that we do forget, but it doesn’t really tell us whether it’s a tragedy or a blessing. And if I’m going to do my own year in review, I think I’m left with a similar question.
It was a long year. And an oftentimes lonely year. And sometimes just a really hard, total meltdown-worthy year, as I’m sure my mother can attest since I called her at a number of low points in 2011. All of those old times I would certainly like to forget.
But then there were the awesome parts. My baby grew into a little boy this year. So, there were a lot of big firsts to be had–first crawls, first steps, first words. We also had a lot of wonderful adventures along the way, some as far as Europe and some as close as the baby pool in the backyard. And those old times I wouldn’t trade for anything. In fact, it hurts my heart to know they’re gone.
So, with just a few minutes left before midnight, I think maybe the song says something totally different. I think what it means is that every year has its ups and its downs, things we’ll remember for ever and some we wish we could completely undo. We don’t have to relive it all or forget it all; instead we can choose what memories to keep dear and near to us and let the others just go. And so as I head into 2012, I think I’ll just take the good with me and leave the rest in 2011. Auld Lang Syne!