New Year’s Day.
Being one to revel in the festivities of secular holidays, specifically New Year’s Day, I tend to buy into the optimism of new beginnings and the idea of a new start. I mean, who doesn’t like a new start. I pretty much feel that way every morning when I wake up. A new day, a new start. Maybe I’ll actually try not to get triggered every ten minutes by the news, or some careless thought or unconscious projection someone throws my way.
Like the Jewish New Year, I aspire to experience the more secular New Year celebration as a time of transition and an opportunity for self-reflection. “Who looks outside, dreams; Who looks inside, awakens.” — Carl Jung.
I tend to google and Wikipedia things as I write, or as I read the New York Times, or after watching documentaries and movies based on real life. I like to do more of a deep dive on subjects and people. I also love to google celebrity’s birthdays to figure out their astrological sign. I tend to Google a lot.
So, as I began to write about January 1st, I thought why not Google and see what comes up. While I did know that, “January 1 is the first day of the civil year in the Gregorian calendar used by most countries,” little did I know that, “Contrary to common belief in the west, the civil New Year of January 1 is itself a religious holiday, but that is because it is the feast of the circumcision of Christ (seven days after His birth), and a commemoration of saints.”
I had no idea that January 1st was observed because it had to do with a circumcision. Maybe it’s best not to Google. Kind of changes the tone of Happy New Year!
Speaking of things I can’t easily forget, January 1st happens to be my long-gone maternal Capricorn grandmother’s birthday.
Recently, I was leafing through the boxes and boxes of photographs I’ve held onto and lugged though several moves, yet never ever bother to look at.
Shoe box after shoe box was filled with family history and countless photos of my grandmother. It’s so funny to me the weird things that I remember most about my grandmother. Like the one time, among many times, my sister and I stayed over at her house and it came time to wash up for bed, she pulled my hair back so tightly in a pony tail it hurt, and scrubbed my face so hard with the washcloth causing a loose tooth to actually fall out. I can almost still feel her scrubbing my face.
My grandmother always had dogs. First there was Peppy, the large unruly standard black poodle who jumped out of our moving car when the window was open.
The dogs I truly bonded with though were her Boston Terriers, Mugsy and Lulu. I’m not surprised they had gangster names given that my grandmother used to hang out with gangsters. Her dogs set the tone for my life-long love of Boston’s…and now my son’s love of Boston’s as well. Though thankfully, I did not develop a fondness for gangsters, though I can’t say my mother escaped that fate.
As young children we spent many a summer being shipped on a Pan Am flight from Brooklyn to my grandmother’s little garden apartment in North Miami Beach. While she was strict in many ways, she was still fun at the same time, and somehow and made summer exciting. She lived simply, though somewhere along the way accumulated some savings…probably from her second husband running numbers in the back of their Soda Fountain shop on Flatbush Ave. My condo here in Nashville is a direct line of inheritance left to my mom, who then bought property in South Beach, who then left that to me and my half-brother, which then enabled me to purchase my condo here in Nashville (which quite honestly, I have to admit, I wish was an apartment in Greenwich Village or Park Ave or Paris for that matter). For that small inheritance though, I am truly grateful, as I’ve lived a somewhat Bohemian / artist sort of existence, never pursuing money or wealth as an end game much to my accountants’ chagrin.
So, as I sit here taking stock of a new day and a New Year with introspection of all that brought me here to this moment in time, it isn’t lost on me that I still have the capacity to continue to shape whatever is left of my life, however I like. That anything is still possible. It is truly a new day. And then I’ll take a moment to try and forget that January 1st is a day celebrated because of a circumcision.