First Day Predictions

By now, the internet shouting about the “new year, new me” has hopefully died down. I am an optimist by nature and pretty self-disciplined, so don’t feel obliged to start fresh just because the calendar changed. However, I do enjoy considering whether our January 1st experiences are an omen of the year ahead. How did you spend your “first day” and was there anything extraordinary that left you wondering about 2017?

For starters, I slept until 10:30 a.m. – something I haven’t done since college. And no, I can’t say we were out particularly late the prior evening. I must have needed the extra rest, so of course, I wondered if 2017 was going to be a year of catching up on needed sleep. Not a bad start!

Feeling so rested I was motivated to go out for a jog; yes, my pace is slow these days so I can’t honestly use the term “run.” Anyway, as I made my way through the city streets, I approached two still-tipsy men who I actually thought were going to trip me for a laugh. Then I realized they just wanted a fist-bump as they continued on their merry way. Hmm…does this mean 2017 will be a year for chance meetings with happy people?

Next, we decided to attend the last of the local First Night events – an organ concert at an 19th century church. We’re not religious or organ-music fans, but we do walk by this church regularly, so thought it would be a good excuse to check it out. Although I didn’t love all the music, it was entertaining to watch those in attendance, especially the little kids putting their hands over their ears whenever the music was loud (and scary?) and the elderly woman nearly tipped over as she slept through the entire concert. Could this be a foreshadowing of finding humor in unexpected places?

After the concert, we stopped by a restaurant we’ve wanted to try and found two seats at the bar. The bartender apologetically noted that the kitchen had just stopped serving brunch and was transitioning to dinner, so she couldn’t give us menus for 15 minutes. I guess this suggests “beware of bad timing.” We decided to wait it out, however, and eventually enjoyed some tasty appetizers, reminding us that patience is a virtue and that sitting at the bar is more entertaining than a table for two.

The day wound down with the last of the NFL season on our TV competing with Netflix on my tablet. Okay; so another year of multitasking – or competing priorities. My last mobile interactions of the day were texts confirming a family birthday-weekend getaway. I like to think this means we’re in for a year of celebrations.

So to sum it up – more sleep, chance meetings, unexpected humor, timing, patience, multitasking and celebration. Oh – and jogging and good food. I suspect that on December 31, I’ll confirm having lived through these experiences because they’re not particularly extraordinary. But hopefully, they’ll be enjoyable and memorable. May the New Year offer you many good times, both anticipated and unexpected!


Thanksgiving: Be Grateful for this Simple Holiday


As we prepare for a day of gratitude and turkey dinners, I can’t help but notice how this simple occasion is truly a cut above the other popular holidays. Think about it – Thanksgiving is devoted to enjoying a traditional, home-cooked meal with family and friends – and that’s it. No presents, costumes, parades (okay – besides Macy’s extravaganza), religious observances, obligatory customs or special songs. What happens is pretty consistent from household to household regardless of where you live in America. You gather around a table to enjoy a meal – typically featuring turkey – honoring America’s origins and all we have enjoyed since those New England harvest festivals centuries ago.

In many communities, it’s also a day to remember those in need expressed through the preparation and distribution of Thanksgiving dinner baskets or volunteering in soup kitchens before enjoying one’s own meal.

Besides personal goodwill, there is corporate goodwill: only Thanksgiving uniquely extends to a four-day holiday weekend. So once you’ve celebrated – or endured – an afternoon with your relatives, you have three more free days to enjoy. In fact, many states officially declare that Friday as a holiday, joining their commercial neighbors. Recognizing the need for entertainment, the NFL schedules plenty of game time, while local high-schools often play their rivals on Thanksgiving morning. There are always a few new movies opening around this time, while many towns host “Turkey Trot” road races or holiday craft fairs to encourage a little family time. In other words, Thanksgiving never means having to get away to enjoy yourself; there is always something special to do over these crisp November days.

So as you enjoy your turkey dinner, remember to be thankful for what makes this holiday experience so special. Simple pleasures are often the best. And when December rolls around, reminisce about feeling well-fed and well-rested before the chaos of those holidays begin!

Wishing you a happy – and delicious – Thanksgiving holiday!