January 2, 2013
Happy 2013, everyone. We’ve officially swept 2012 out the door and welcomed in a shiny, unblemished new year. Brand new, clean slate. I can’t help feeling a little wistful this time every year, but I’m happy to say that I feel more hopeful, more excited than I do pensive. Yes, Jan. 1 is just another day like any other, but still it carries with it a demarcation, a line over which we step – the first of many steps we’ll take over the next 364 days.
I had a conversation with a friend just a few days ago, during which we discussed whether the other makes resolutions for the New Year. I, personally, do not. I used to, but since I tend to have that “all-or-nothing, do-or-die” mentality, I always ended up taking a misstep early on, beating myself up and usually doing more harm than good before the year ever got a chance to get off the ground.
In other words, I don’t have the type of personality that responds well to the “resolution” kind of thinking. As soon as I’d make a resolution, I’d resent the whole idea. Whatever change I was trying to make would occupy my every thought; I’d obsess and worry and fixate myself into certain failure, basically. If my resolution was to lose weight, I’d attach a specific number to that weight loss, then whip myself into a stress-eating frenzy that would often result in a net weight gain as early as Jan. 2. Sound familiar?
Now, I try to approach a new year just the same as I would any new opportunity – with optimism and eagerness. This year I have career, fitness and relationship goals in mind. That’s about as specific as I’ll allow myself to get; otherwise, I’m likely to shoot myself in the foot, figuratively speaking of course.
My friend whom I just mentioned makes New Year's resolutions every year, and he tells everyone what they are. I can’t imagine the pressure but then again, he and I think very differently. He says that the act of publicizing his goals brings with it a measure of accountability. I guess I can see that but still, I’m not wired that way, and I really don’t want to carry around the extra weight to prove it.
I do observe the legendary collard greens/blackeye peas tradition on New Year’s Day. I know it’s silly, but just as sure as I neglect to put the lucky foods on the family table, utter ruin will befall our entire clan, and it will all be my fault. I can’t take that chance.
My friend, who is from New York, thinks the whole idea of eating greens or blackeye peas is ridiculous on any day of the year. I didn’t say so, but he really is recklessly tempting fate.
What about you; do you follow any traditions (or superstitions) for a new year?
Carole Townsend is also a Gwinnett Daily Post staff correspondent and author of two books: “Southern Fried White Trash” and her newest, “Red Lipstick and Clean Underwear” (released October 2012). Townsend has been quoted on msnbc.com, in the LA Times, USA Today and the Christian Science Monitor, been featured on FOX 5 Television News and CNN, and is often a guest on television and radio shows nationwide. She currently travels throughout the southeast, meeting readers at festivals and book signings, and speaking publicly at various events.