Earlier today (yesterday) I wondered why it felt so odd to feel kinship and rightness in both Solstice and New Year’s Eve-into-Day. I grew up with New Year’s like some of my friends grew up with Christmas. That’s when you had the tree (Yule tree, though I didn’t know Yule then), had the gifts, had the big party or went to one. We had no Christmas, nor Hannukah. Both of these have always been a bit alien to me, because I didn’t get exposed to either until I was almost 14. Then, six or seven years ago, I simultaneously tuned out of Christmas, repelled by all the consumerism and the omnipresent tchotchkes everywhere, and got into marking time by actual seasons – celebrating the solstices and the equinoxes.
Somehow, New Year’s didn’t get touched by this. It makes sense emotionally, but not logically – how is it that I deeply, viscerally relate to both? And I decided that they’re different markers. The Solstice is, for me, a turning point in the natural cycle. I move within it, and with it, and am happier following a moon calendar that changes ever so slightly to keep in tune with the planets and star and galaxy around us. Solstice/Yule is a social thing only because I happen to be surrounded by people who keep time by it, too, and for some of whom it is – as it is for me – a holy day. Not all of us have that privilege, and I’m thankful to live where I live.
New Year’s is a social thing in a larger sense. I’m part of a larger human community that keeps a 365ish-day calendar, and that by and large marks the midnight of December 31st into January 1st. I’ve taken part in that since I was little, staying up past midnight for the first time when I was six or so. (And stayed up until 6am! I should ask my mom exactly how insufferable I was the next day. If she doesn’t remember, that’s probably a good sign.)
Tonight I was with acquaintances and beloveds, eating good food and drinking goofy-making drinks and enjoying my brand-blue hair and petting the love cat, talking, listening, taking it all in. At midnight I was napping in a warm happy bed upstairs from the party. The new year is here, and it is welcome. My personal newest chapter began over a week ago; but the passing of 2008 actually closed the previous one. Couldn’t have happened soon enough.
Good night, fellow humans. Happy new year.