Despite all of the craziness of the holidays, with the gift-buying and the bringing paper goods for class parties and the present-wrapping and the cooking and the hemorrhaging of cash, I actually really do enjoy this time of the year.
I like how, during the holidays, I’m forced to spend time thinking about the people I love and what might delight them. I like being aware of the rituals and the traditions that we’re either creating fresh or carrying on, and I like knowing that someday (I hope!) my children will think of me when they give Hanukkah kisses to their kids, or when they make mini-cheesecakes from my mother’s recipe. But most of all, I like that the year comes to end.
Sometimes I think about what it might be like if nobody had ever invented the calendar; if the days just ran from one to the next, endlessly, without there ever being any kind of fresh start. It would, I think, be awful. It would make life go by so much faster, a big blur of perpetuity.
Even now, it’s so easy to just run on autopilot and never slow down to think about what’s happened in your life, and how it could be better, or different. Imagine what it would be like if there was never an end to look forward to. There’s just something so satisfying about taking stock of a year – whether it was a good one or a bad one – and putting it behind you once and for all. Maybe it appeals to me so much because I’m a writer, but I love the idea of another chapter that’s come to a close. A chapter that can be reviewed and revisited, but can’t ever be changed or edited.
All in all, I liked 2013. My New Year’s Resolution was to have more fun, and I think I made a decent effort. I went out more with friends, I took a class, I started tennis lessons, I traveled. I had a few girls’ nights, I went to some concerts, I played more with my kids. There were some political victories (Obama won), some professional victories (I finished my book), and some personal victories (I turned forty and lived to tell about it). But the year had its challenges, too, of course. Family problems, financial issues, deaths, regrets. And as much as I like being happy, I’m probably more grateful for the dark days, because I was able to learn something from them that I can use in the future, when they will, inevitably, come again.
But the year isn’t over quite yet. In these next few weeks, as 2013 winds down, there are still precious memories to be made, still bad days to have, still laughs to share. There’s something about this time of year that makes the days feel like they’re going more slowly, as if the year itself is trying to hang on for dear life. It is, I think, the best time of the year, and I want to savor each and every one of these days; I want add on to this chapter and write the hell out of it. Because once it ends, there’s no going back.