Another fresh new year is here...
Another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt, and fear,
To love and laugh and give!
So begins William Arthur Ward's "A New Year" -- spritely guy, right? He's got a pretty good attitude.
Sitting here reflecting back on 2010, my thoughts are distressingly catastrophe-ridden: the earthquake in Haiti, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, WikiLeaks documents being released, the economic crisis -- the bad has left a mark on my memory more readily accessible than the good.
Well, so much for wine and roses.
But then I think a little harder. I think of the World Cup in South Africa, I think of the incredible Chilean miner rescue story, I think of the total lunar eclipse that so much of the world witnessed. I think of riding out the February "Snowpocalypse" in D.C., drinking hot toddies with friends and learning how long cheese in the refrigerator can really last. I think of watching John Isner and Nicolas Mahut battling out over 11 hours of tennis at Wimbledon. Now we're talking.
The funny thing is, people get so worked up over resolving to do better, to eat better, to give more, to cross things off of our lists, that we forget to live. You think Isner and Mahut had "play longest tennis match in history" on their list of New Year's resolutions? Probably not. But how much are you willing to bet that that match went down as one of the highlights of their year -- or life?
My point is this: Natalie Portman is pregnant and engaged, and men all over the world are weeping -- but there's hope! We've embarked on another calendar year, another fresh slate filled with promise and zest and opportunity.
If these pop culture references are moot, even better. With a little bit of luck, a little bit of hard work and a little bit of destiny (if you believe in it), we find ourselves in a position where every day is a new day. That means new chances at love, new chances at helping another person, another animal, another cause. It means trying something new. It means throwing away the old. It is another chance to laugh, to cry, to cheer, to smile. It is a chance to conquer challenges. Have you ever known something as magnificent?
I have not. This year, I understand that natural disasters will happen. Violent protests will occur alongside poverty and corruption and devastating loss. The world will continue to turn in disharmony, and leaders will continue to resolve to do better. But if you can do one thing, one seemingly insignificant, small detail, resolve to live. To be kind. To not dwell on dreams and duties, but act on them. Create a little magic.
But most importantly, enjoy it. Here's to 2011.
Follow Emily K. Schwartz on Twitter: www.twitter.com/emilykendall