Just Shelley

New Year: Universal Do Over

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Jeneane Sessum isn’t particularly fond of New Year’s Eve, but she still looks for the positive within this year’s end:


Beyond the obvious, I think about this place we’re building online. And I think 2002 was a year of a different kind of love. A different kind of family. A kind of rebuilding, re-creation. Somewhere I said that blogging is a do-over of our childhoods. Getting the family thing right. Getting love right. Even getting anger and arguments and resolution right. I think this past year has proven those words true for me. Something is healthier in here.

I, on the other hand, love New Year’s Eve. It’s one of my favorite times of the year. It’s on this day that I realize that it’s too late to try and fulfill all those foolish resolutions I made last year, so I might as well give them up as a lost cause and come up with a fresh batch for next year.

New Year’s Eve is also the day to remember that whatever happened last year — the hurts, the pain and sadness, the political battles lost, the friends who drift away — happened last year. This isn’t forcing events into forgetfulness as much as it is softening them with perspective. Maybe even a little hope.

New Year’s Eve is the period being put to the sentence that is 2002. It is the Universe’s gift to us — our own personal do-over. Whatever mistakes we made in 2002 belong in 2002, and we will not carry them with us into 2003.

In 2002 we came closer to war with Iraq and now North Korea. Okay, then 2003 is the year that we don’t go to war with Iraq, or with North Korea. In 2002 we watched the world shudder from financial breakdown, an event that was not confined to any one border. Okay then, 2003 is the year that we start, gradually, carefully, hopefully making our way out of the financial bottom.

In 2003 we have a chance to help the environment, to make our neighborhoods better places to live, to read good books, to make new friends, to discover great opportunities, to uncover stories that need to be told, to see new cures for disease, to listen to wondrous new music, to share new words with each other, to fall in love all over again. Next year we’ll touch hands for the first time, and watch a baby’s first steps.

Next year is a another year to once again try to make peace, stop famine, provide hope. Maybe even, as a people, grow up a little. All that anticipation — how can one not like New Year’s eve?

In 2002, I read the words of my friend Chris, as he wrote about his close friend’s death from terrorism. In 2002, Rick died for the worst of reasons, a blend of politics and religion that makes no sense regardless of whose side one is on. Yet into 2003, I hope what Chris brings with him is the memory of the years that he shared with his friend; that he brings with him the bright and unstoppable spirit that is Rick. And thanks to Chris’ sharing of what was probably one of the most difficult times of his life, we all take into the new year an even stronger will to end these tragedies.

leavessm.jpgIf we don’t go into the new year with hope, and determination based on this hope, how then can we possibly build future New Year’s eve’s that don’t close on similar tragedy?

So I sit in my chair, filled with the sense of anticipation that has nothing to do with clocks and countdowns, confetti and fireworks. And I ask you to check your worldly cynicism at the door, face forward not back, and join me in cherishing that which was, but dreaming of that which will be. For you see, next year is going to be a good year. No, next year is going to be a great year.

Happy New Year to all my friends!


With arms wide open
Under the sunlight
Welcome to this place
I’ll show you everything.

Creed, With Arms Wide Open



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