2017 -- En Fin (The End)

The holiday season is approaching its end. In a few days, hundreds of millions of people will stay up too late with a bunch of strangers celebrating . . . what? That they survived the year? The beginning of a new one, where we may or may not stick to idealized, nearly impossible resolutions? Why do we need to wait for a whole new year to set goals for ourselves?

I’m sure you can tell that I am not much of a celebrant. (Although, to be fair, perhaps surviving THIS year is celebration-worthy.) However, that has not kept me from developing a New Year’s tradition.

Lame Year’s Eve

New Year's in Rio.jpeg

It’s exactly what it sounds like. Three of us who grew up together 500 miles away from here plus one husband gather at Moose and Squirrel’s house. (They’re the only ones who have a house.) We catch up while playing cards or watching movies until we fall asleep on the couch. Then we wake up just in time to watch the ball drop in Times Square and go home. Lately, we have even taken to adopting a country with an earlier midnight and celebrating around 9:00 p.m. our time. We’ll make that country’s food and try to track down some shots of their midnight. This year, it’s Brazil, specifically Rio de Janeiro. Who wouldn’t want to celebrate New Year’s with Rio? (Notice I did not say “in.”) I am making risotto cakes with tomato coconut sauce this year. A good time is had by all and we don’t lose New Year’s Day to the recovery.

The funniest thing about it is how many people seem to prefer something like that to their bigger, more formal plans. The best thing about it is that I get to spend some no-pressure, quality time with part of my support system. These are the people who knew me before autoimmune conditions. I mean, how many friends do you have that you’re ok falling asleep in front of?

This year was hard, and I am glad to see the back of it. I hesitate to say that 2018 can’t possibly be as bad, since Murphy has a way of proving me wrong. So, whatever happened this year, and whatever’s coming this year, I’m glad I’ll be spending the end and the beginning with Moose and Squirrel.

If I Must

If I must make a New Year’s Resolution, I resolve to laugh more. Sometimes we get so bogged down in our chronic lives, we don’t realize what we are missing. But there is a reason “Laughter is the best medicine.” has survived a generation or two, and now the saying is borne out by science.

I’m sure you can feel the stress drain from your body with a good belly laugh. Or you’ve suddenly started laughing in the middle of a fight about something that seemed serious at the time. But did you know there are biochemical benefits as well? It strengthens your immune system, releases endorphins, which relieve pain, and it increases blood flow, which is good for your heart.

Robert Frost said, “If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.” So, in the interest of collective sanity, I invite you to share my resolution to laugh more in 2018.

What are your traditions and resolutions for this year?