Easing into the first quarter without a zombie apocalypse

by emily @theBERRY.com
Apparently some people view January 1 as the day some sort of cataclysmic event occurs.  They define resolutions for themselves of becoming a person different from the person they were the previous day, month, years, as if they can trade themselves in for a different make, model and year.  New!  Improved!  Longer Lasting!  Extended warranty available!

Life just doesn’t work that way.

The day you turn 21 doesn’t automatically make you an adult.  Legally responsible for your actions yes, but no guarantee that you became an adult overnight.  It’s a gradual process.  I know 60 year-olds who aren’t any more adult than 8 year-olds.  Some never grow up and bullies will always be bullies, regardless of age.  Likewise, on the day you turn 65, you don’t necessarily become senile, break a hip, require a walker and get handicap parking access.  You do (apparently) get some nifty shopping discounts.  I once offered to treat my parents to dinner (I had a yen…) and my dad told me he could get a senior discount.  Excellent.  I gave him the money for the check.  Forget coupons.  Shop with a senior citizen.

People who make ‘new year resolutions’ are probably the same who compose bucket lists for themselves.  I am not one of those people.  My life has always included the Fourth Quarter Crunch:  year-end project deadlines, year-end reports, year-end reviews of accomplishments, composing goals and objectives for the upcoming year, year-end filing, holiday preparations and endurance, renewals of all kinds including health insurance…and it all slides into the first quarter of the following year.   And why is it that people do not want to interrupt their summer to move and finalize real estate closings?  I’ve never been able to escape the Fourth Quarter Crunch in any year of my life.

Yet there are those who feel that midnight December 31 requires extreme drama, dressing in seasonally inadequate clothing, massive drinking, lots of noise, making confetti instead of recycling, revelry of bad behavior they wouldn’t engage in on any other night (just ask any ER nurse) – anticipating great changes in their life and the world at 12:01 am.

It’s just one day out of all the others in the year.  The sun rises and sets – even if you don’t witness the event.  Earth’s axis shifts have been so gradual they went unnoticed by most.  Food doesn’t magically appear in the fridge, the laundry still needs to be done, the bills still need to be paid – most of which are for the fourth quarter expenses.  Life does include dramatic moments and events, as well as comedic, but they almost all never happen on January 1 for everyone.  And as for the brouhaha in 1999, those of us who were competent in the industry did not believe that all systems would crash at 12:01 am:  Basic Programming 101.

In Key West, people gather at Mallory Square every evening to watch the sun set.  There is no dress code.  It is not a sponsored event.  There are no invitations, no cover charges or fees.  Street performers entertain for free.  Everyone quietly gathers at land’s end to watch the sun sink below the horizon and once it does,  there are cheers and applause that we’ve put another day behind us.  It is a New Day Celebration that’s performed 365/366 days a year.  No one expects the next day to be dramatically different.  They expect to perform the same celebration January 1 through December 31.

I for one, am pleased that I don’t expect the entire world as I know it to dramatically change in the 60 seconds past midnight on December 31 – of any year.  If I should wake on January 1 and find Keith Richards’ face staring back at me in the mirror, it would be a cataclysmic event signaling that my life has become a horror movie instead of a  seriocomedy and only then will I feel the need to be on the alert for zombies.  Should that happen, I am well-equipped with garden tools – although my chain saw is electric.  Therefore I’m working on my pivot back roundhouse kick combined with a strong backhand slash move with my Buck knife.

Just in case.

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