“Of all sound of all bells…most solemn and touching is the peal which rings out the Old Year.” –Charles Lamb

New Year’s Eve. I love New Year’s Eve. It brings back all sorts of memories about the past years and dreams for the future. I even love all of the “Best Of” lists that appear everywhere, detailing the best movies, tv shows, music, fads. It’s fun to review the year and remember everything that happened. This past week has been especially rife with them, because New Year’s Eve 2009 marks not only the end of the year, but also a new decade. When this decade began, in 2000, it was the end of the 20th century, so we had to review all of the 1900s. I remember nothing of this. I was nine years old, and was really only interested in the Barbie I had received for Christmas to be truly bothered by the mysterious “Y2K” that everyone was talking about. I do recall that that New Year’s Eve was the first year I stayed up until midnight.

When I was nine years old, I was in the fourth grade. I still played with Barbies and I thought that “American Girl” was the end all, be all of magazines. My addiction to magazines clearly started young. I was looking forward to turning ten (two digits!) in March. My favorite book was probably a Nancy Drew mystery. Now, ten years later, I’d like to think that I’m mostly grown up. I can’t remember the last time I played with a Barbie, babysitting or not, and I’m not even sure where my old ones are stored. My taste in magazines has widened slightly, but my favorite book is something I read very close to the time I was nine—Little Women, a discovery when I was twelve. In short, in the past ten years, I have paid attention to 1 Corinthians 13:11 and have “put away childish things”. I am entering the third decade of my life. I turn 20 in March, and I am surprisingly excited. Apparently I haven’t put away my childhood enough to not get excited about birthdays.

I don’t necessarily miss being a child. I like the privileges that come with being an adult. I do miss not having many worries, and sleeping a solid eight hours every night. My first decade and a half was filled with momentous things in world culture. My generation is the generation of Harry Potter and Pixar. The Boston Red Sox won the World Series when I was 14. The Twin Towers fell on my first day of sixth grade. Pluto was de-classified as a major planet. Lots of things happened. And the next decade will be filled with even more things. I can’t wait to experience them and read about them and discover them. I can remember almost everything that happened to me in the past 19 years, but I know nothing that is certain in the future. And that is so exciting.

What I have always liked about the new year is its newness. It’s so shiny and special, with no mistakes in it. However, this is also true of a single day, as Emily Dickinson noted when she wrote “We turn not older with years, but new everyday!” Yet even though every day is new, it’s nice to have a completely new year spread out in front of you. I wake up every New Year’s Day with excitement and joy and hope. Everything shifts with a new year. All during the 00’s, 1970 was thirty years ago. Well, tomorrow, January 1, 2010, 1970 turns 40. The world turns a whole year older and so does everything around us. Thoroughbred foals become yearlings on January 1. Lots can and will happen in the next 365 days. A new Derby winner will be crowned in May, new babies will be born who will one day rule the world. December 31 and January 1 are some of the most exciting days in the year. I can’t wait to see what they herald. I always wait to make my resolutions until my birthday in March, but I’m already thinking of how I want to spend 2010. Maybe I’ll created a slogan, something like “Susannah is zen in 2010”.

My life is much different than it was ten years ago. The world has changed as well. But moving forward is living. The world turns and we turn too. Joni Mitchell sang “we’re captive on the carousel of time”, but this carousel is truly beautiful and special. May many blessings and happinesses find you all in 2010.

Happy New Year!

Love,

S.

P.S.  As I was watching this New Year’s scene from “Sex and the City: The Movie” with both of my parents, 2009 magically became 2010. It was a perfect New Year moment. If it is true that whatever you are doing at the beginning of the year continues until the beginning of the next, then I am sure of a year that is filled with love and family. And also great style.

“New Year’s eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights.” –Hamilton Wright Mabie

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2 thoughts on ““Of all sound of all bells…most solemn and touching is the peal which rings out the Old Year.” –Charles Lamb

  1. I would just like to say that I love your reference to 1 Corinthians. And as a favor to my father, I need to inform you that. mathematically speaking, this was in fact not the end of the decade. There was never a year 0, thus decades run from 1-10. The real decade will end on December 31st, 2010. But pop culturally speaking, I guess saying the decade is over is ok.

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