i may hate christmas, but i dig new year's eve

I never cared that much about New Year's Eve.

When I was a teenager or in university, I went to parties, even hosted a party one year when my parents were out of town. But as I got older, I didn't like the forced hilarity, the pressure to have something lined up, the implication to feel dejected if you didn't.

Allan and I always stay home New Year's Eve, with a bottle of champagne and some fun food. Our anniversary is January 3, and we always save our celebration for that.

But my attitude about New Year's Eve changed on December 31, 1999, and from a TV broadcast, of all things. We had the TV on all day, watching people around the globe celebrate that giant odometer click. From the Fiji Islanders to Australia, through Asia, then the great cities of Europe, then over to Newfoundland, to New York... I don't think I made it past Chicago!

But I really caught the spirit of the moment: the whole world celebrating one occasion. Not religious, not nationalistic, just a vast human community.

Incidentally, on that night, I discovered there was a North American time zone east of Eastern! Embarrassing but true; I never knew that. After the celebrations in London and Dublin, I thought New York and Montreal were up next. But no, there was St. John's! What can I say. Now I not only know where Newfoundland is, I've been there.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year, and a 2009 full of the best things in life: peace, friendship, creativity, and a new Canadian government.

Thank you for reading wmtc this year and for being part of this community. Most of all, thank you to everyone who made a phone call, sent an email, wrote a letter, attended a meeting, joined a demonstration, talked to a friend, or took any other action on behalf of war resisters in Canada. May 2009 bring all our hard work to a joyous conclusion.

Happy New Year!

* * * *

Two updates brought in from comments.

Please vote in my reader's poll!

And a note about New Year's, which I should have made explicit in this post. I actually find this date meaningful in my own life. To me New Year Eve is is a time to look back on the previous year, where I've succeeded and where I've failed, what's happened to me for better or worse, and to look ahead with a fresh start.

In 2001, I remember feeling some closure on all the horror and sadness of that autumn.

At the end of 2002, we knew we were leaving the United States.

At year's end in 2005, we celebrated our first New Year in Canada, and said goodbye to the year we lost Buster.

And when I think much farther back, I realize I've felt this way most of my life. It's kind of cool.

This year, I look ahead to great change - for Canada and for the war resisters.


Sarah O. said...

Proud Maritimer that I am, I'm going to be picky (hopefully not annoyingly so) and note that there are two time zones east of Eastern - Newfoundland Standard and Atlantic Standard. Not being on the eastern edge of NA, I guess we were just easy to overlook back in 1999. :)

Though I am still in my 20s, with the exception of two years I've always been a homebody on New Year's. I bake shortbread (a little homage to Hogmanay) and make fun of the local New Year's concert on TV.

Mike said...

Happy New Year to you too! Especially from the people who read your blog, but don't really comment much or at all!

Scott M. said...

Happy New Year!

I can't remember, did the TV cover Atlantic time? I know they did St. John's (Newfoundland time), but did they cover Halifax or Moncton or something?

laura k said...

Proud Maritimer that I am, I'm going to be picky (hopefully not annoyingly so) and note that there are two time zones east of Eastern - Newfoundland Standard and Atlantic Standard. Not being on the eastern edge of NA, I guess we were just easy to overlook back in 1999. :)

In baseball parlance, I grooved one to you there. I knew that was coming. :)

laura k said...

Mike! You are still here! Thank you and happy new year to you and yours.

laura k said...

Scott, if my memory is correct (which it may not be), they went from St. John's to New York and Montreal. Now, it was an ABC broadcast, from the US. But otoh, it was Peter Jennings, Canadian. :)

Happy New Year to you and Dawn.

Chrystal Ocean said...

Yuck. I hate the new year idiocy as much as I hate christmas.

The entire last half of December is a dead write off and I've never understood it. WHY do people insist on celebrating a change from one day to the next?

I could understand it better if the switch from old to new year was set at a time on the calendar which marked an obvious renewal - like the Spring or Autumn equinox.

But December 31st?! Bah humbug!

laura k said...

PS: only two people voted in my reader's poll!

Mike said...

Mike! You are still here! Thank you and happy new year to you and yours.

I haven't gone anywhere!

laura k said...

Well Chrystal, equinoxes mean nothing to me. I've never been a farmer or a pagan, those are just another day.

But I've been using the January 1 to December 31 calendar all my life. To me it's a time to look back on the previous year, where I've succeeded and where I've failed, what's happened to me for better or worse, and to look ahead at a clean slate. I find it quite meaningful.

But each to her own! Enjoy or not, as you see fit.

laura k said...

I just updated the post.

allan said...

I posted this to the readers poll post, but I'm copying it here in case people don't go back.


I'll cast a write-in vote for: the four part 9/11 series from September.

Rest of Top 5:


Others that I suggested to L:

Jan 5: 9/11: truth, kooks and obstruction

May 27: end of america

July 30: denied treatment, they took their child home, and she died

Sept. 28: we don't want another harper government because...

As per B, there were three other "moral illogic" posts.

Jere said...

Earlier I was thinking of how we have a decorated tree in our living room, and how since I've never been religious, why do we do it? And I kinda thought, Well, it's just what I've always done--has no religious meaning, more of just reminding me of being a kid, being "merry," etc. And I heard Laura's e-voice in my head saying, Well you're still technically celebrating the birth of Christ by doing a tradition that's done by Christians (even though there's the whole Pagan argument, but that's another post).

So then I came here and saw Laura saying how the millennium isn't religious, when we're basing our calendar on the birth of Jesus--and then she says in comments basically what I thought about why we have a Christmas tree--that that's just what she's always known, and obviously has nothing to do with her celebrating any religious thing.

(Granted, celebrating a trip around the sun is completely non-religious, unlike Xmas, but the year number that's based on Christ's birth is.)

I don't really have a wrap-up for this, it's more of an observation. I guess. Not making any judgments or anything. Everyone's free to do whatever for whatever reason.

I love New Year's because for us it's all about watching the Twilight Zone marathon, either after we get home or, more likely, all day and night while staying home.

laura k said...

Jere, I would never criticize anyone for having a Xmas tree in their own home, no matter how areligious they are. It's having Xmas trees in public that I'm opposed to. Your tree is in your home and it's your life so you're doing what you should do: whatever you want.*

I wish our method of numbering years was based on something other than the supposed year of birth of Jesus. But it's not. The year itself, tho, that's something everyone on earth has, as you said: the earth moves around the sun.

Next year we get an extra second!

* As long as it doesn't knowingly hurt anyone, which it does not.

laura k said...

Also: the point of living our lives is not to be consistent. Inconsistencies abound everywhere.

laura k said...

Oops, I said that backwards. It's this year we get the leap second.

Amy said...

Happy New Year from the Atlantic Time Zone in the Caribbean!! We are in St Martin with limited internet, but wanted to wish you and Allan a wonderful 2009.

laura k said...

Thank you Amy! Happy New Year to you and Harvey, and Cassie and the kittens. And your daughters, of course. :)

nick said...

happy new year!

I'm not a big celebrant of it, but I can appreciate the reflectiveness of it. I've always found that moment at new year's where everyone is suddenly supposed to feel so passionate about the people around them awkward, so I avoid it whenever possible. I usually work on new year's, but this year I avoided most people and spun records on the radio for other people who didn't go out. I quite enjoyed it.

May peace break out all over.

JakeNCC said...

I worked late and came home and watched the replay of the Canada-USA World Juniors hockey game. I had managed to not learn the score until i could watch the replay. What a game. The World Juniors are always a holiday tradition in this country at least for hockey fans. Laura and Alan have you guys caught a bit of hockey fever yet? I know baseball is your sport but maybe hockey has drawn a bit of your interest if for nothing else than the cultural attraction of your new country's national sport.

So that was my New Year's Eve. Hockey and my dog. And it was very pleasant for a change. Happy New Year to the WMTC community.

laura k said...

Nick, that sounds great.

Jake, that sounds sweet - hockey and your dog.

I'm afraid we don't watch hockey, but you know, a lot of Canadians don't.

We've been to a couple of OHL games, and if someone gave me Leaf tickets, I'd be happy to go. But following teams and watching hockey on TV is just not a habit I'm going to develop in my mid-40s.

Also, following baseball the way we do is practically a full-time job. I'm glad to have an off season.

Cornelia said...

Happy New Year!!! Hope it will be positive and successful...and looking forward to the end of winter, haha!!!