Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wednesday's Words for December 31, 2008

New Year’s Eve! How magical those words were to me when I was a child. Without fail, if my mother, an RN, was at home and not at work, we would have a small celebration on New Year’s Eve. This party featured Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians, live from the Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City on our television and the inevitable countdown just before midnight. Mom would buy cheese, crackers, and sometimes canned shrimps and oysters. She would have the occasional beer, but for me of course the celebratory drink had always been ginger ale.

I remember watching all those people, dressed up in fabulous evening wear, jewellery sparkling as they danced to the big band sound of Lombardo’s orchestra and imagining how wonderful it must be to actually be there.

I don’t believe I ever asked my mother if she’d ever attended a New Year’s Eve party. But I know that she and my father would sometimes have an evening out at a place called the Brant Inn that featured live music and dancing.

Mr. Ashbury and I married and began our family right away, but still we managed a couple of New Year’s Eve parties. Only a couple, for as our family grew, we instead invested what spare money we had in the children’s Christmas as opposed to a New Year’s Eve party for ourselves.

Haven’t really been out to such a gathering in more years than I feel comfortable admitting. But I still think the moment itself is magical, rarely miss tuning in to watch the dropping of the ball in Times Square, and I still get excited.

I can’t seem to help myself. Here comes a whole new year, a chance for everything to be new again, and anything, absolutely anything is possible! How can I not be excited by that?

Oh, sure, the crap I’m going to be dealing with today is still going to be there tomorrow. Nothing really changes, from one moment to the next. But if I didn’t have hope, where would I be? If I thought that nothing would ever get better, that nothing could ever be new or fresh or a second chance given…I don’t know if I could soldier on. Don’t know, really, if I’d want to.

I believe with all my heart that hope, that having a dream, is as necessary to life as is oxygen, food and water. Those three nourish the body, but hopes and dreams nourish the spirit. This isn’t a new-fangled philosophy, of course. It’s at least as old as the book of Proverbs. Chapter 29, verse 18 reads that without vision, the people perish. And that is very, very true.

Yes, the next few months may be difficult for many. The economy is still in the dumpster and people are still waiting to be called back to old jobs, or to secure new ones. People are still struggling to hang onto their homes, and their sanity. Things will get better, but not over night, and if you’re in distress then months can feel like years. I know that because I’ve been there.

But in the history of the world so far, bust times are inevitably followed by boom times. I’ve experienced such on a personal level, so I know that’s true, too.

In the meantime, why not make a list of dreams and goals and aspirations? If you are in need of a list of dreams to visit from time to time, just to lose yourself in the imagining of them, then those dreams can be anything at all. If, however, you’ve decided that you are going to take charge of your life and create reasons for celebration despite the unhappy circumstances you might be in, then make your list of dreams and goals achievable.

I have a list of dreams and goals. I want to continue to write intriguing stories, experimenting in different genres. I want an agent, and a New York contract (that one’s kind of obvious, isn’t it?). I want to buy a new house that is big enough to give me the illusion of solitude and I want it to have lots of flat land around it! I want to get into a size 14 and I want to dance at every one of my grandchildren’s weddings.

All of my dreams are possible. And having those dreams, believing in them, gives me a solid reason to get out of bed ready to greet each new day.

I wish for all of you every good thing that life can give you, and I wish you peace. Happy New Year!

Coming early 2009 ~ A scorching ménage from Morgan Ashbury

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