I bid 2013 adieu and welcomed 2014 while standing in a restaurant in Brooklyn. For anyone who knows me, that is not my usual style. I prefer to be quietly tucked in bed by the stroke of midnight and to start the year off early with a walk. My friend Julia called me about a week ago and asked what I was doing for New Year’s Eve. I didn’t want to admit what a drip I was so I said, “I’m thinking about going to Central Park to watch the fireworks. Would you like to join me?”
I had watched the fireworks in Central Park some years ago, long before I had any wrinkles around my eyes. That was when I had a resolution list a mile long and truly believed I could and would accomplish everything on it. I looked at January 1 not only as a new page or even chapter in my life but the beginning of something so big a book could not even contain it. No year ever matched the expectations I had for it and yet I dove in head first every January. I was wide-eyed and incredibly enthusiastic.
I’m not sure when I started opting for the comfort of my own bed at the stroke of midnight. It was long before the implosion of 2010 when I seemed to have gotten caught in the riptide of my mother’s passing and nearly drowned myself. I think it was somewhere in the late 90’s when I witnessed a brutal fight over a cab in the early hours after leaving a party. I might have been still wearing the tiara announcing the year. It was frightening and I’ve never since wanted to be far from my own bed as a new year was birthed in Times Square.
Julia was not enticed with the idea of fireworks. “I want to be in a crowd at midnight. I don’t care if I know anyone but I need an enthusiastic crowd.” Julia went through a rather trying time this year. She divorced her husband of just a few months after he beat her. He is an unassuming professor who thought his family wealth would protect his wicked temper. In the end, it sort of did. Julia fought back with a lawyer and studied the law herself so she could understand the battle. I think she should have a law degree with all of the terms she can now spout off. It was all settled December 16th just in time for him to take off for the holidays with his new girlfriend. She still nurses the stillborn dreams rendered from her marriage ending so quickly and cruelly.
I knew Julia needed a night out and there is a part of me that needed one too. Enthusiastic Mae still haunts the back of my psyche chanting mantras dripping with hope and cheer. Cancer silenced but did not completely quell her and the further 2010 is the cheerier she becomes. Julia offered to let me stay at her place and that is how I came to be standing in a restaurant in Brooklyn in a crowd of strangers screaming Happy New Year. Julia was right; it was a wonderful way to bring in the New Year. Something weird also happened, I feel like the old Mae again filled with optimism. There is a part of me that wants to extinguish such lightness of being because I have been burned and then there is the other part of me that just wants to say, “Welcome back Enthusiastic Mae, I’ve missed you.”
I want to wish all of you a Happy New Year filled with Health, Happiness and Wealth.