First of all, let us get the business at hand out of the way: Happy New Year! Happy 150th Birthday Canada! Now that I have the important stuff out of the way, the usual drivel shall ensue. (Only I can say this, I would be eternally hurt and totally destroyed if anyone else said this.)
We all have our own ways of celebrating and welcoming in the new year. Some of us are defiant and refuse to make resolutions, in essence saying “Gosh darn it, I will not partake in this useless exercise for another year only to be disappointed in the outcome.” Usually this is parlayed in two succinct words which I will not share with you as this is a family friendly column. But I am sure many of you will get my drift.
Others subscribe to the Mark Twain school of resolution making. He is purported to have said: “New Year’s Day: Now is the accepted time to make our regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.” I would say that he was talking more intentions than resolutions, but hey, who am I to argue with Samuel Clemens?
There is also the more philosophically based way of looking at the new year. A good example of this can be found in the words of poet T.S. Eliot, who eloquently penned this: “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language/And next year’s words await another voice./ And to make an end is to make a beginning.” I have no idea what this means, but it sounds deep and some of you may be enlightened by it. (Side note: Attended a New Year’s Day party and told someone that sometimes when I write my column I get philosophical. This was a mistake, as while I was being tongue in cheek, the person I was talking to took me quite literally and started talking Plato and Socrates. I just continued to munch on my shrimp and did not tell the obvious intellectual that I was talking Wayne Dyer and Dr. Phil.)
Just for good measure, I am going to add one more New Year’s quote that I do not understand, but in an effort to look smart I will share it with you. If anyone can explain this or the last one to me, please stop me in the grocery store or on the street and illuminate me. This one was said by none other than Ogden Nash, who once declared that “Candy is dandy/but liquor is quicker”. (I understood that one btw). This one is a little more opaque: “Every year is the direct descendant, isn’t it, of a long line of proven criminals?”
James Agate, a bit of a snob, but entertaining nonetheless, said once that his New Year’s resolution was “To tolerate fools more gladly, provided this does not encourage them to take up more of my time.” I would be very afraid to tell Agate that sometimes I get philosophical in my columns—as I would be very afraid to take up more of his time. Unless of course I had a glass and a half of white wine under my belt (which is all it takes now), then I would not much care. Agate is a long dead British writer known for his wit, but forgotten for his writings.
I think Oscar Wilde had it right when he claimed that resolutions “are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.” Simple, to the point, though a bit, shall we say, curmudgeonly?
My resolution this year is one that I am sure will succeed. I heard on television the other day (so it must be true) that if you make only one resolution you are 85% more likely to be successful in keeping it, as opposed to making two, where you are only 35% successful. So, what is my resolution? Read more. And I guarantee I will be 100% successful, unless I die. Which leads me to another question: do people read in heaven?
Suffice to say that the New Year will be much like the old year. Except we have renewed hope. And a fresh chance to begin again. So, open your new 2017 calendar and start inking in some time to spend with friends and family; some time to laugh; and some time to read, or cycle, or throw a pot (as in pottery making), or write opaque poetry only you, Eliot and Nash understand. And let us celebrate in little ways, and big, Canada’s 150th birthday!
Remember, if Jack Yellen could write these words in 1929, then we can sing them in 2017 (whether they be true or not):
“Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
So let’s sing a song and cheer again
Happy days are here again….”
*All New Year’s quotes taken from Writers Write blog by Amanda Patterson.