Lucy Jensen
Lucy Jensen

I’ve never been much of a fan of the “Year in Review” news magazines that are a key post in the ground at the end of each year. I don’t mind recalling the good stuff; but I would not choose to go there with the grim recalls of how unpleasant human beings can be over the course of one short year. I skip through that stuff, always. It is not good for my psyche to be continuously badgering over the never-ending wrongs in the world and wishing we could all be more like dogs.

Friends of mine are fans of the “Happy Jar” — a place where you put notes about good stuff that happens throughout the year and then you revisit at the end. That’s not a bad idea — at least it will make you feel like you accomplished something over the last 12 months and some of it was good. And as for New Year resolutions, I believe they belong in the trashcan of good intentions. Just because I lost maybe 5lbs of the 40 I had planned for myself in the past year does not mean that a new year resolve is going to get me to my lofty goal any quicker or make me feel any better about my lack of willpower to squeeze into those jeans that I love so much — but obviously not enough to actually do anything about it.

I never was a fan of New Year — wasn’t my celebration. Could have been something to do with the memory of the year that several people got crushed in Trafalgar Square and we were on the outskirts of that melee, watching the horror unfold (never went there again). Or the sadness that I still feel about my sister Rosie no longer being of this planet and the fabulous and amazing New Year celebrations I enjoyed at her home two years in a row at the end of her life. She so loved decorating for the holidays, and now I like it less so.

However, New Year there almost made me into a NY convert. I can so clearly recall her delight at all the American goodies and dollar bills I would schlep across the world to her home in Turkey so we could play lots of fun games with the crowds who came along to their epic parties. Fortunately, there is video and photographic evidence of these hilarious events that I sometimes watch and try not to make myself sad.

When we were young, New Year was just the long-arm celebration that seemed to flow seamlessly from Christmas, since the Boxing Day feasts in our homes were a thing of epic proportions and most people had the whole week away from real life. New Year’s Eve would come along, and we’d still be feasting and playing games. The trees and lights would still be up. We never seemed to tire of it.

As I moved into adulthood, very often I would go to bed before midnight, unless I was on fear-watch for my critters because of the dangerous fireworks nutters like to play with. Last year there were so many people celebrating in my hometown over New Year that I swore I would never celebrate that holiday there ever again. New Year — not a thing of beauty for all folk and, as you can see from my banter, I have a very chequered relationship with it.

And here we are, the beginning of January and the house is still staggering under all the festive regalia of Christmas that came and went in a near flash. Most of my 2022 calendars have found their way to the rubbish and recycling receptacles, my January calendar is already quite well marked up and there is mud everywhere because of all the recent rains. It’s a cluster.

My granddaughter has just left after a muddy-rainy week with us, and we have much to clear up and reorganize before our friend from England arrives this week. And still, I need to finish clearing out the garage and unpacking boxes from our remodel. There is always much to do when I’d love to just put my feet up with a good book and think about other fun things to put in the diary.

For Christmas, my daughter gave me tickets to see George Strait in Nashville this coming summer. Ooh, better organize some hotel rooms and get the structure of the trip in place — dates in the diary and all. We are going to see our son and his band play in Solvang in March — where shall we stay, never been to Solvang, how exciting. And then there’s a promised trip to the Pismo coast I need to make in-between times. I had promised my friend we would have a visit in the near future, and I adore going down there, so definitely need to make that happen.

My other friend and I are writing a book together about our shared childhoods — we have lots of plans to work on. I need to put together another book of my last three years of newspaper columns — need to squeeze that in. Oh, and work must happen at some point.

And this is how the year kicks off — with lots of plans for the future and oodles of optimism that I shall be around to enjoy it. Now if I could just get a grip on the 35lbs still left to lose, we would really be whizzing into this new year in style.

“Hello and welcome to Flight #2023. We are prepared to take off into the New Year. Please make sure your Attitude and Blessings are secured and locked in an upright position. All self-destructive devices should be turned off at this time. All negativity, hurt and discouragement should be put away… there will be NO BAGGAGE allowed on this flight. The Captain of your beautiful life has cleared us for takeoff. Have a healthy 2023 flight.” — Author unknown.

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Soledad columnist Lucy Jensen may be reached at [email protected].


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