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For the New Year…

For the New Year…

by Victoria Alcalá

Here comes December 31st and along with it season’s greetings and best wishes for friends, relatives, neighbors or acquaintances, looking back over the year ending and projecting our hopes and dreams for the coming year.

Generally speaking, we always wish for health, love, peace and success…but every one of us interprets these in their own way.

Some think health means having abundance in the food department (including lipids and carbohydrates) on every one of the 365 days of the year. Others think of strict diets, going on walks and working out at the gym. Yet others “firmly” promise to stop smoking or drinking. And there are those who remember, at least for a few seconds, those postponed visits to the dentist, the low-heeled, wide-toed shoes (not at all fashionable!) recommended by their orthopedic specialist and eliminating those chocolate or sweets they ate like crazy at the end of the year parties, all in preparation for future abstinence.

In matters of the heart, it also gets rather complicated. Unmarried people, especially the spinsters, dream about their Prince Charming coming to get them: every year brings on a less idealized version. I have girlfriends who have some pretty strange methods such as using red underwear on New Year’s Eve and waiting for the striking of midnight on December 31st holding on to a lit red candle: not only is that uncomfortable, it’s just plain dangerous especially if you have had one too many. Married people wish for “happily ever after” even though perhaps more than a few are wishing for a quick divorce instead, the birth of a long-desired child or, in a hushed sotto voce, a small home so that they can finally leave their mother-in-law’s. And the lovers among us are promising that they will be married by the time next December 31st rolls around.

Peace depends on so many external factors so it’s probably better to not even mention it. But some will tell you that “inner peace” can be achieved by taking up meditation, being in harmony with the universe or subscribing to some religious faith.

And what about success? It’s all a matter of your perspective. For some this means ascending the ladder at work, for others it’s being satisfied with whatever they are doing whether it is a heart transplant or fixing a carburetor. For a few it means buying, buying, buying…and letting others see that. For many others, they want to see their children move forward in their lives, have a happy home life, enjoy their aging parents, be surrounded by friends, to love and to feel loved. As the clock strikes twelve on the last day of the year, you may see someone running down the street with a suitcase: obviously success for that person means taking a trip. Where? Who knows?

As for me, I hope that next year my son starts working on his thesis, that my partner gets to see his two new books (already being edited) published, that Cuba’s GDP grows, that wars end, that transportation improves, that I will always have work (but not too much!). And once again, I promise to stop smoking.