Long ago, I gave up glitzy parties, morning hangovers, and late night celebrations. I no longer need to mark the occasion with noisemakers and hats. On New Year’s Eve, give me a good movie to watch and a quiet dinner my husband and I prepare together.
And our letters.
The tradition began when the kids left home. We wanted our own ritual – a way for the two of us to close out the old year and ring in the new.
Nowadays, on New Year’s Eve, we fill our champagne flutes, help ourselves to a stack of decorated cookies, and settle into our respective ends of the couch. Beside the twinkling tree, we rip into the envelopes we sealed and stashed away exactly one year ago.
And then we read the letters we wrote to ourselves the previous New Year’s Eve.
Each year, I’m anxious to rediscover what I penned to myself 365 days ago. Because I truly can never remember what I wrote. Our New Year’s routine is to draft our letters – including what we hope to do, see, and learn in the next year – and then plop them in a drawer until the following December 31.
As I read my rambling messages to myself, I’m reminded of what worried, frightened, and excited me the previous year – concerns about myself, my family, the world, my friends.
Some of these issues worked themselves out – and others did not. I didn’t accomplish all I planned. And wasn’t always the person I wanted to be.
But that’s ok.
Armed with my yellow legal pad, I’ll begin my annual letter to myself by reflecting on those things I’m especially thankful for this year. Our first grandchild, another engagement, travel and time with dear friends. I am here and healthy and able to celebrate another holiday season – and write another letter.
I’ll relate what I loved about this year – and what I didn’t. Favorite, and not so favorite, books, people, places, food. I’ll muse about how I can be a better wife, mom, daughter, friend. Can I worry less, thank more, offer a kinder and gentler approach?
What can I do to improve myself, my family, my world? What do I want to see and do with those I love before my circumstances change?
As we watch the revelers cheer and the ball drop in Times Square, we’ll kiss, say goodbye to another year, and file our letters in their designated drawer. Until the next New Year’s Eve.
Perhaps our kids and grandchildren will come across these letters someday.
As they read them, maybe they’ll smile and remember us and understand a little more about our lives through the words we wrote over the years.
Wishing you a new year filled with fun adventures, bountiful blessings, and good health.
How do you spend New Year’s Eve? How have your New Year’s plans changed over the years? What do you wish for in the new year? Let’s chat!