For the last couple of years, this ritual has included a church service, then either back at home, or over to my sister's apartment, to just hang out, watch movies, talk and laugh until just before midnight, when we turn on the countdown on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin Eve (every year, without fail), for the last few minutes before the clock strikes 12:00. We toast the New year, my sisters and I text each other and our mom, and after we all wind down, and the kids are in bed, I say a prayer, thanking God for surviving the year that passed, and expressing my hopes for the coming year. Then I make sure I wake up early enough to catch the first showing of the Tournament of Roses Parade (the one without the commercials), an annual tradition here in Southern California that leads up to the annual Rose Bowl game between college football teams.. Then I spend the remainder of the day relaxing, and/or preparing myself for whatever is going to come next in my life.
For whatever reason, I tend to pay particular attention to the first song I hear at or after midnight. I guess in my own way I think the song is either setting the tone for the year ahead, or telling me something about the year that just ended. Generally, I tend to have the radio on as well as the television, and for several years, the first song I heard was "New Year's Day" by U2. Which is fine, but I started thinking that maybe because this is a song about war and politics that contains the statement "Nothing changes on New Year's Day", maybe this is not the tone that I really want to set fot the new year.
This year, the host of the countdown stated that Elton John would be performing soon after the break, so, seeing as I am an Elton John fan, I opted to wait before turning off the living room tv. My reward for not hastily turning off the tv, was that the first song I heard in the New Year was the 1983 Elton John hit, "I'm Still Standing", performed live (well on tape delay because we are on the West Coast) by the artist himself. My kind of New Year theme!
Although the song is ostensibly about a man surviving numerous attempts by a former romantic partner to leave him defeated and depressed, I wonder if Mr. John realized how many people would recognize themselves or their circumstances in that song? Does he know how many people see that song as inspiration to keep going through tough times? This song tells us that, if you can arrive on the other end of your struggles, not just on your feet, but feeling triumphant for having survived it, you will eventually begin to put your life back together, and yes, you will be okay.
It certainly is the story of this past year of my life, especially the last few months. I've found out recently that the fall out from my financial troubles are far from over, and I have many months of struggle ahead, but you know what? I''m still standing. I have a solid spiritual foundation, a rich internal life, and friends and family to listen to me when I need to talk. I can go forward, even if because going backward is impossible, and while looking back may provide with some ideas of what I did wrong, and subsequently what I want to avoid, dwelling there will do far more harm than good.
I'm still standing.
I still have a civil service job with a small, but steady, paycheck, and will be facing issues and opportunities with both in the coming days and months. I've been here before, and I will get through this, hopefully wise enough to not make the same mistakes that got me into this mess in the first place.
I'm still standing.
My son hit some roadblocks on his way to getting on with his life, and it looks like there will be additional delays in his eventual exit. My daughter is cruising towards her VERY emotional teens. I have some support, but as always, on the day to day stuff, the micromanagement is still mostly on me.
So many things meant to destroy my spirit, break me down or just keep me running in circles so as not to get anything accomplished. For so many others as well, the last 3-4 months of 2014 were devastating. But I made it. We all did. And by the Grace of God, going forward into 2015, I'm still standing. I hope you are to.
Be well in the New Year.