Saturday, January 7, 2017

"Happy New Year" and other...

The calendar changed the other night - from December 31 to January 1.  As we lunged into the abyss of 2017 and all of its uncertainties, I started thinking.  Why do we say, "Happy New Year" for about five days, and then it's forgotten?  Why is January 1 the "unofficial" landmark / date that we start things new - from diets, to exercise, to other things, such as stopping swearing (I usually last three minutes.)

I am not trying to be a pessimist.  Let's face it, 2016 was a tough year - we experienced the deaths of many well-knowns and also experienced the ugliest and costliest election in our nation's history.  The uncertainty that lies ahead frightens me - not only as an American, but also as a parent and an educator.

As the clock ticked to 12:00 am January 1 and we greeted each other with "Happy New Year," were we really speaking the truth?  Will this be a happy year?  Why do we have to wait until a new year to begin in order to start eating better, spend more responsibly, exercise more, treat each other better?

Along these lines, I was reflecting about my "wants" for my own children.  I just had the opportunity and privilege to spend a week with them in Nuevo Vallarta.  Not having them every day in my life (physically) has been one of the greatest challenges I've experienced as an adult.  I was looking at my oldest daughter, almost 19 and a second year at UC Santa Cruz and I thought, "What do I really want for Madi?"  It's pretty simple (and my commentary in ( ) :

  • I want her to be happy (she appears to be)
  • I want her to be independent (she appears to be)
  • I want her to be confident (she is confident most of the time)
  • I want her to be educated (she values education and is very earnest)
  • I want her to treat others as she wishes to be treated (the golden rule!)
  • I want her to appreciate the opportunities she has (she is always thankful)
  • I want her to have the confidence to express herself and stand up for her beliefs (so far, so good)
  • I want her to choose a career that inspires her and keeps her happy - it's not about the money, it's about fulfillment.
I'm sure this list will grow.... above all, I want my children to know how much they are loved and supported despite any challenges ahead, differences we may experience.  Life is short....let's enjoy it.  Happy New Year.

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