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Happy New Year - Lessons Learned

It’s the end of the year when many of us do some self-reflection and see what the year has brought us.  Are we better or wiser for our experiences in 2014? Even if we aren’t particularly the introspective type and just want to move on, the media won’t let us. We turn on the TV and see news programs featuring the year in review. Magazines on the newsstand display highlights for 2014.

Of course, we’re always reminded of the celebrities that died during the last twelve months. I just watched a news program that reviewed all the notable deaths in 2014. By the time the segment was over, I was huddled under a blanket under my bed -nothing like an overload of death to happily end the year. It saddens me every year to be reminded of my mortality and just how many notable figures of my childhood have taken their last curtain call.

It all seems so melancholy as New Year’s Eve approaches and the festive holiday season comes to an end. I know when I see Ryan Seacrest’s face in Times Square that another year has ended, and soon the 500th season of American Idol will be upon us.  Does it ever end?

I’ve always thought that Auld Lang Syne was a sad song. It never brightened my spirits on New Years Eve.  Contemporary artists have tried to jazz up the song giving it a disco beat or a new spin by Mariah Carey, but it hasn’t changed the song. Some things just can’t be improved. “You can put lipstick on Sarah Palin, but she’s still Sarah Palin.”

There needs to be a different New Year’s Eve anthem. I think we should try using a Bab’s standard – Happy Days are Here Again. It’s more upbeat and promises good times ahead. I always sing “Happy Gays are Queer Again” which is good for another crowd.  Party On!!!

Shouldn’t the start of a new year be about the celebration of new beginnings and optimism of what’s ahead? I don’t want to look back over the year’s debacles or worry about forgetting an old acquaintance. I want to skip merrily into the next twelve months.

 Instead of dropping the ball in Times Square, wouldn’t it be better to raise it into 2015? I found that when most things drop it isn’t very good, and the older I get things dropping can be scary.  Gravity takes its toll over time, so like the Wonder Bra and Spanx, let’s try and raise things up and minimize the damage.

I want to see that Waterford Crystal globe rise above the crowd and greet the New Year, and not plummet onto the roof of One Times Square. If I want to see a prolapsed ball, I’ll visit the ER.

I think we dwell too much on what has been and not enough about what the future can hold. I don’t want to review this past year and think about the mistakes I made or the tragedies that surrounded me.  I do want to learn from the past, so I should, at least, review the things that I have learned. I can take these life lessons and make a better 2015.

What have I learned in 2014?

1.    Friendships are important, and good friendships last. Not seeing a good friend in thirty years does not mean the connection is lost. It can still be there. If you reunite, it will be like the time has melted away and the bond is still fresh.  Those are meaningful relationships to hold onto. You might have an issue with friends entered into the Witness Protection Program. That can make the connection harder to maintain. Also, friends in prison can be a challenge. A reunion where a metal detector is needed pretty much spoils the atmosphere.

2.    All Facebook friend requests don’t have to be accepted. There is no guilt in declining a request. There is a reason you did not search certain individuals out. The class bully, who you are glad no longer takes your lunch money, does not need to reconnect. Although it may be worth it to see a picture of his trailer on cinderblocks and his toothless wife.  Karma can be a joyful thing.

3.    Oversharing is now a word in the dictionary. Social media has helped create a new term. We can thank sites like Facebook and Twitter for giving people the tools to provide us with every nuance of their lives. While it is great to see posts of interesting photos, friends exciting new experiences, thought provoking videos, and important news, I really don’t need to know what you ate for dinner or the fact that you are happy at Walmart. Is anyone happy at Walmart? Even the employees who are under paid, lack health and pension benefits are hard pressed to feel happiness there. Please put a filter on what you share with the people around you. Even if the mole on your back resembles Abraham Lincoln – I don’t need to know. Everyone thinks that their stream of consciousness is fascinating, but unless they are doing something incredible it isn’t. Put a tampon in your brain. You need to soak up the overflow.

4.    Black is still the new black. No matter how style changes and what the fashion world tries to get us to wear, black is timeless and classy. You’ll never go wrong wearing black. It is stylish and always shows a sense of urban chic. Plaid, checks and flannel are better left in a logging camp.

5.    It is acceptable to say “NO”. Learning to say “no” can certainly save a lot of time and stress. I always wanted to please everyone and never back down from a request. Learning my limits and knowing when to refuse brings power. Saying it verbally brings strength. The next time someone asks you to do something you really don’t want to do – promptly say “no.”  Also, saying ‘no” to your inner voice can be a game changer. The next time the asshole in your head is trying to lead you down a dark road, put on the brakes and yell “NO!” Just don’t get into a fight with yourself and start talking back.  Then you’ll be yelling “NO” to the guys in white jackets escorting you into the padded van.

6.    Reality is subjective. When someone says, “That is the reality of the matter”, remember, it’s his or her reality. We are unique and each of us sees things in a different way.  We can agree that a rose is red, but how we see the flower and how we see red is from our individual perspective. If you are eating brownies while visiting a friend in Colorado, question your reality. You don’t know what’s in the recipe.

7.    It is not a great idea to fly an Asian airline.  This year flying on an Asian airline might not be the smartest choice. Whether the luggage will arrive at the destination is the least of my concern. I know that Asian driving skills are stereotyped, but this brings it to a whole new level – or should it be altitude? The next time I feel like I want to disappear, I’m booking on Malaysia Airlines. It’s an open-ended ticket.

8.    I will not publish any blogs about Kim Jong-un. I will stay away from any topics about North Korea’s Supreme Leader with the stooge haircut. I’m not afraid of censorship or repercussions due to freedom of speech. I just don’t need to give this idiot any of my time or energy. Go see The Interview for that.

9.    2014 was a huge ass year. What is up with all the interest with big butts? There are songs about them, videos and a whole lot of media coverage. Between Niki Manaj and Kim Kardashian, I’ve been exposed to more giant asses than a sofa in the waiting room at a Jenny Craig office. Let’s hope it’s just a bad fad like leg warmers in the 80’s.  You should lead with your talent, not back into it.

10. Technology does not make us smarter. It seems the more we connect ourselves to our smart phones and laptops the more we lose social skills. Communication occurs via text where you don’t even have to spell out the entire word. Just throw in a few letters to give me a hint at what you’re thinking. Hopefully, I can crack the code and get the joke – LMAO.  The more we become digitally enhanced the less we engage in real conversations and make real human connections. The higher the gigabytes the lower the I.Q.

Well, I now can bravely forge my way into the New Year. The future can be bright and filled with promise. We can’t regret what has been, but we can shape what comes tomorrow. Think of each New Year as driving a car. You only want to keep moving forward, because backing up gets you rear-ended.

Happy 2015!!


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