Oh. Hello New Year. I would have prepared a better welcome for you except you got here faster than I expected. Not to make excuses, but I didn't get everything done that I promised last year. I've got a few ends running loose like cattle in the road. Well, the kids, they take up a lot of time. And then there's the miscellaneous stuff that comes up. And of course I busied myself with a few frivolous dalliances, like day dreaming and vegging, to which we're all entitled.
What's that? You don't care? You're here and you're staying?
OK. That's fine. Yes, I understand that it took a lot of work for you to get where you are today; that you've been waiting your turn for a long time. I get it. You're claiming your rightful place in history, opening yourself to whatever might happen on your watch, claiming it as your own, good or bad. Don't tell me the old every-year-has-an-equal-number-of-months-weeks- days-hours-minutes-and-seconds speech again.
I hope you won't think me impertinent if I point out that you years are all the same, swaggering in with glitter and bubbly and confetti and toasting and tooting and Auld Lang Syning. It's just a big distraction if you ask me. I get caught up in celebrating, and the next thing I know we're a week in with dirty laundry piling up and nothing checked off of my to-do list.
While I'm on the subject, I must say that you and your brothers have some legs on you, every one of you running out faster than a second-guessing groom. Last year, I got right down to business and concentrated hard on organizing my house, and when I looked up it was June and my sock basket was still a mess.
It isn't that I don't appreciate the gifts you come bearing -- a blank calendar, a purse of possibilities, a treasure trove of memories as yet unmade. Those things are priceless. But the pressure to do something with you that I've never done overwhelms me. You bring a heap of responsibility for personal destiny and direction. I find myself drifting between anxiety and optimism, never sure which will catch my sails. Even if I do capture an unforgettable moment or two out of the multitude, like you, the moments won't last.
Why so focused on measuring the months, on marching headlong from the 1st of January to the 31st of December without one look back? No matter what, you'll go down in history as another year, with births, deaths, natural disasters, struggles, survivals, weddings and wars.
Since you're here, hardheaded as a toddler, here's to you, New Year. Here's to the people who will find fame and fortune in your folds and to the people who won't. Here's to the people who will aid and comfort those lost souls who can bring themselves to do nothing more than glance up at your passing, and here's to the lost souls. Here's to the gifts you bring. And here's to your happiness, New Year, because, despite everything, if the New Year is happy, then what more do we need?
(Lucy Adams, of Thomson, is a weekly columnist, freelance writer, and author of Tuck Your Skirt in Your Panties and Run. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit www.IfMama.com.)