The tree is up. Presents are wrapped. Christmas dinner menu is planned. This is the time I enjoy the holidays.
I also love my end-of-year rituals.
I have a few New Year’s Day rituals, mostly having to do with file folders and paperwork. I clean out the filing cabinet, label new empty folders, anticipate a fresh, good year. I put all the old stuff in a box designated for the attic, as soon as the taxes are filed. I finish entering all the financial crap into the computer so I can print out the pertinent stuff for the tax preparer. (I hate doing that throughout the year, but I love doing it at the end of the year.)
I learned last year the value of putting a “name” to my year. 2008 was the year of Hesed, the Hebrew word for Lovingkindness. Naming it helps to make it so, or so I believe. So I witnessed. I don’t have a name for 2009 yet; it’s not New Year’s. But I will.
The ritual I have before me right now is returning things I’ve borrowed and not returned throughout the year. Books, CDs, movies, tools, patterns, whatever. I go through drawers and shelves and collect and return. Most things I just pop into envelopes and take to the post office when the rush is over. When possible, I would always prefer to deliver these things personally (after all, they were loaned to me personally); it’s an opportunity to get face-to-face during the holidays. But that isn’t always possible, especially with the current stormy weather. So I pop ’em in the mail with a note of thanks, and an invitation to get to gether soon after the first of the year.
I also take this time to ask for things back that I’ve loaned to others. I don’t loan very much, so that isn’t a big deal. When I taught classes I was pretty liberal with loaning my resource books to students, and that’s when I began this program of asking for loaned things to be returned. Some are better at returning things than others. I want to be one of the ones who always returns things, even if it takes me to the end of the year to do it.
When I think of New Year’s, I think of a clean slate. It’s good to get clean in bookshelf, file folders and relationships.
Is there anything I need to say to anybody? An apology? A thank you? An “I Love You”, just in case I’ll never see them again? Then I best do that without delay.
The New Year.
A clean slate.