New Year’s Eve. That traditional time to remember, to check out the highlights, laugh over the spilled-milk goofs, cherish the tender moments. And then we begin celebrating the coming new year. Frankly, I think we use it mostly as an excuse to have a good time. Other than the dangers inherent in drunk driving, I’m all for celebrating for celebrating’s sake. We need it.
There’s not a lot to cheer about. A doubtful, dangerous, destructive war waged under the most spurious of circumstances. 40,000 babies dying every day from hunger and its deadly companion ailments. A consumer-based “civilization” that threatens to plow through the last of the Earth’s precious resources with hardly a nod to its own culpability. No wonder we tend to grab for the nearest alcoholic beverage before we can make merry. How else could we possibly face the truth of the mess we’ve managed to make in our own nest?
Given that gloomy reality, you might wonder why I think celebrating is a good idea. I rejoice that, as long as we’re still hanging around as a species, there’s hope. Hope that we might look backward some New Year’s Eve with a sober, unflinching eye and decide to make some real changes in the months ahead. To live as if the Earth mattered, as if we aren’t disconnected from those starving children, the poisoned water, the filthy air. What if we decided to figure out what we truly need, and buy only those items next year? What if we committed to producing half the trash we did last year, personally? What if we all gave Christmas gifts of a heifer, or a tree, or a year’s worth of breakfast for an AIDS orphan? What if we awakened to the fact that food doesn’t have to be locked up?
Sounds radical, I know. It will take radical to bail us out at this late date. But radical doesn’t mean impossible, and it’s in that wee little difference that my hope lies. So grab a noise-maker, strap on a silly hat and have some fun, knowing that next year could make all the difference in the world.