Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And days o’ auld lang syne.
— Auld Lang Syne, Robert Burns
The words Auld Lang Syne, literally translated from an old Scottish dialect, mean ‘Old Long Ago’ and are about love and friendship in times past. The lyrics in the song Auld Lang Syne, referring to “We’ll take a Cup of Kindness yet,” relate to a drink shared by men and women to symbolize friendship. It is a great song and always sung by many to ring in the New Year.
And, when you really think about it, there are a lot of contradictions in the last hurrah of the year.
Even though I am writing this on December 28, 2020, I can safely say that on New Year’s Eve millions of people, including myself, will count down the seconds to 2021, and carry on as though all the troubles and turmoil of the past year will be magically wiped away – this year more than ever!
Later in the day on January 1, the same bills will still be in the stack, those extra five or ten pounds will still be hanging around, and we will realize we are essentially the same people we were on New Year’s Eve, December 31 at 11:59 p.m.
To quote Hamilton Wright Mabie, “It is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights.”
Maybe, then, it’s the potential of the new year that holds the magic. The blank page that allows us to start a new chapter in the story of our lives.
It’s the idea that even if we can’t find a way to rise above the turbulence of the outside world to solve the problems that plague our planet, we can at least make a change to better ourselves.
A new year’s quote by Edith Lovejoy Pierce is a great way to channel good thoughts and actions for the New Year: “We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day. ”
That hope, brought into sharpened focus for one night of the year, transcends the weight we will still carry on our shoulders from 2020.
So let’s not start the new-normal new year with regrets, but with visions of endless opportunities. Right the wrongs you can and don’t fret over those you cannot.
Use the words of Mark Twain to inspire the enactment of your vision of great things on the road ahead in the new year: “Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Look at the new-normal new year not as a way to make things go away, but rather as a bright new year and new opportunity to start applying new-found knowledge toward becoming a better person.
Wishing each of you a very happy New Year!
“If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of ten years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people. ”
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