Tuesday, January 27, 2015

My Three New Years

Dare to dream, e! Dare to dream.
Last week, I realized how much I appreciate having been born in late January—my birthday has always served as a sort of second New Year's Day for me. Obviously the first is January 1, and with that day come unrealistically high expectations of what the next 365 days will hold. January 1 also comes with unrealistically high expectations of what I personally will accomplish before the year is through. But that's OK, because it's New Year's Day and that's what you're supposed to do. AIM HIGH, people, aim high.

The thing with New Year's Day, though, is that it falls within the period I refer to as the "Holiday Haze," which starts around Thanksgiving. During that month and a half, it's like everyone goes a little crazy just trying to make it to January 1. Most of us must survive holiday parties, bad weather, travel during bad weather, being "on" at social and family gatherings way more than we're used to, inevitably getting a cold or worse, and all of that is on top of trying to find non-sucky gifts for various people.

It's also the busiest time of the work year for me, as it's movie-awards season, which means I need to amp up my film-watching to 11 in order to cast informed votes by the CFCA's deadline. (I know: waaah, waaaah. But seriously it is stressful.) My husband also puts tremendous pressure on himself in the final weeks of the year to create not only a gorgeous 100-page coffee table book of family pictures as a present to ourselves and close relatives, but also an hour-long movie-quality video to go along with it.
Yeah those dreams didn't work out.
So yeah, by January 1 we're like, "Where are we, who are we, and when are we again?"

But three weeks later that fog has cleared. Reality has set in. It's freakin' cold out and there's no end in sight. But it is my birthday. (And then three days later it's Desmond's birthday, a much happier occasion.) So on January 21 I hit "reset" again. I take stock of what I want to achieve before the year's up and what I actually can achieve. I still make stretch goals—hell, writing here every weekday is a huge stretch goal, but I'm sticking to it. I just finally have time to think more clearly about the rest of the year and what's likely to get done and what isn't, as well as what's truly important, and what isn't. I hope to write about some of those trade-offs soon.

Then I give myself eight months to get serious and have a great year, and I lay off the soul-searching a bit. The third New Year comes when the fall TV season hits. Yes, this is ridiculous. And I'm sure probably next year (or at least by the time Des is in kindergarten) the third New Year date will shift to whenever the school year starts. But for now I'm keeping things as they've been for the past few decades. I always feel some sort of inexplicable rebirth when my favorite shows return. TWD starts in October, but you get my point.Sure, those debut dates have been shifting mightily over the past few years, with series like Better Call Saul coming in February, Game of Thrones starting in April, new seasons of Netflix shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black being available to binge in February and June, and my attempt to catch up on other series like The Fall, Black Mirror, Transparent and Sons of Anarchy being a round-the-year effort. But for now, there are still a good chunk of shows that kick off in September, and so I use that time to take stock of where things stand and plan out how in the hell I will survive the final months of the year.

And then on January 1 the whole process starts over again.

Anyone else have a different "New Year's Day" I should try out?

- e

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