“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
2010. A new year has begun. I have not written yet, which is less disappointing than I thought it would be. There has been a lot that has happened and inspired me to write, but I don’t feel the need to berate myself for not writing. Perhaps 2010 will be a more forgiving year than 2009. One can only hope.
This year began in spectacular fashion. On a cold, clear night, under a blue moon, I welcomed a new decade surrounded by friends. No matter how cliché, it truly is a special thing to think of the year starting with a blue moon. It shone brightly, lighting our walks to and from the bar. It heard our laughter and listened to our excitement. It saw us look to the next year with hope that it would be better than the last. Not that 2009 was all terrible, but the world as a whole has seen better days. Very few would say it was the best year of their lives. I would not be among them. After leaving my family behind and returning to an empty apartment, I was exhausted and content to relax and enjoy a quiet night. I think it would have been nice and nothing I would regret, but I’m glad that I opted for a little more excitement. I spent the evening with girls that I love and am loved by. I spent it laughing so hard I could hardly catch my breath, working my core harder than any workout. I spent it surrounded by warmth and joy and people who know me at a time when I forget who I used to be. I spent it with friends. As the sparkling ball descended on television, we turned down the volume and rang in 2010 with Journey. Nothing could capture the new year, our optimism and hope, our faith that this would be better, than singing at the top of our lungs, “Don’t stop believin’!”
Since that night, the year has been good and bad, joyous and tragic, as all other years before it, and all years that will follow. I still hold out hope that it will be a better year. It has to be. Or, rather, I have to hope. If we didn’t hope, we wouldn’t have a reason to wake up, to do the things that perhaps did not end well before, that disappointed and frustrated us last year, hoping that this time it will be better. Hope is the only reason the human race continues. Hope is a powerful thing, bred into us. It’s the magic of New Year’s Eve. We all need new starts, second (or third) chances. We all need clean slates, but they are only useful if we have the hope, the confidence, the faith that this time, we might do better. We hope that next year, we might not need them. We hope that instead of rushing to start over and put the year behind us, we will wish it a fond farewell and hope that the next year will be just as good, because it couldn’t possible be better.
This image of persisting hope appeared again in my life today. Today we went to the casino. It’s interesting to see the crowd that gathers around the flashing lights and card tables on a rainy Monday afternoon. It’s a humorous and tragic sight through the smoke and slots. But no matter who they are, where they come from, what they own or owe or have, they all come with hope. No one gambles without hoping to win. They may try to keep a level head, accept losses and limit the damage, but they would not play unless they hoped to come out ahead. You don’t try to lose. You do it because maybe, perhaps, things will turn out better when you leave than they were when you entered. You hope that this is your lucky day.
That’s the thrill of gambling and the new year. It’s the hope for a win.
“Working hard to get my fill/ Everybody wants a thrill/ Payin’ anything to roll the dice/ Just one more time/ Some will win, some will lose/ Some were born to sing the blues… Don’t stop believin’/ Hold on to that feelin’…” –Journey