Congratulations, you’ve made it to the very last day of this year from Hell. This year 2011 has been terrible in so many ways. It’s a good time to make sure we start off right on 2012.
One of the things we do at New Year’s is make resolutions. It’s something I don’t usually do, but this year I’ve realized that I’m making a start at solving a problem I’ve had for awhile, and I guess that will pass as a resolution. For me, being inclined to save, I put off doing things that really should happen. Lately, I’m pushing myself to get going and do it.
One of the things I did that you know about is make that big trip and visit places I wanted to experience, from my friend in London who has always pushed me to get over there, to the former Iron Curtain countries that are accessible now for us to visit. You don’t know how many times I shrank from the thought of what a really gargantuan plan I’d gotten together, and how often I had to tell myself that if I didn’t do it now, I might never get it done.
Have you got a big plan that you put off for one reason or another and feel like you will have a big disappointment if you never get to it?
Another aspect of my stinginess is that I will get something nice and just not put it to use. The crystal vase, the really nice plates, the gourmet gadget, tend to stay in the package while I wait for the occasion to come along that just requires it.
Today, I had that salad with a black truffle and the fresh arugula from the garden, all of it requiring me to push myself to Go Ahead! and enjoy something special.
What is a great thing you want that you push back into the shadows because it seems a bit too special for you?
There are traditions associated with the New Year that a lot of us practice. One is the old southern custom of having black-eyed peas for prosperity. I grew up with the explanation that having the poor folks’ field peas was supposed to fool the baby New Year into thinking you were poor – so you would be given prosperity. No, it hasn’t worked yet. Greens are another New Year meal that I learned only recently is meant to bring prosperity. One explanation is that it’s the color of money and will bring more green stuff, hopefully money, with it.
Do you have a particular dish that you have at the New Year, and does it have a legend or myth associated with it?
Once I just mentioned to a fellow worker that I had done house-cleaning on New Year’s Day and she was completely shocked. It was a belief in her community that what you do at the New Year will continue through the rest of the year, so in her tradition everyone parties and has a good time. No one would think of anything that seems like drudgery. She, I could tell, felt really sorry for me, and was sure I would have a bad year.
What do you want to happen for the rest of the year? I think if I believed it was going to be a pattern, I’d put together a day of being with intriguing and intelligent people… oh, hi, so very glad to see you all! This must surely be just the right way to start the New Year, by pulling up a chair at Firedoglake.