01 January, 2017

happy new guy

2016 was an interesting year. i'll give it that. here's hoping 2017 is less interesting, and more given to peace and joy than the wanton decimation of democracy and beloved icons like its predecessor. let's all raise a glass to that, shall we?

we spent new year's eve with friends: eating, drinking, soaking in a hot tub, enjoying the balminess of the night, and generally being low key. after the last several years of hosting large new year's eve gatherings, it was lovely to simply sit on a couch and be.

when it came time to ring in the new year, we sort of missed the boat because PBS inexplicably played commercials at the very moment of midnight and by the time we got back to a commercial station, it was already after the fact, so we awkwardly clinked glasses of bubbly, hugged and kissed and then sat down again to watch a movie.

perhaps because i've been so... ahem... excessively mobile in the last year or so, i feel like all the usual trappings of tradition have become loosened, as evidenced by our unconventional christmas celebrations. with the socio-political changes in the world, too, it seems that tradition for its own sake is something to perhaps view with a degree of suspicion, or at the very least hold up to the light and question: why are we doing this? is there anything meaningful for us in this? what aspects are important enough to keep? what can be relinquished?

i see now that without the whole family around, i really feel very little need to have a traditional polish christmas celebration. it's definitely more about the people than the food, and when the people aren't there, it becomes stripped of meaning. grocery store sushi will do just fine, thank you.

i am reminded of our first few christmases in canada, just my parents and i: there was a poignancy to the fact that after all the preparations we would sit down to a meal of 3 just like any other day, that without the bustling noisy atmosphere, it never really felt proper, despite my mom's best culinary efforts. very quickly we started sharing our christmas eve supper with other polish families who were in the same boat, and having 10 people around the table made it seem festive, special, even without any blood ties.

it's quiet here, peaceful. green and warm and pleasant, and i'm working on getting the best out of it, and out of the new year.

dearest poultries, may this year bring you relief from ailments, anxieties, and uncertainty; may it bring you health and hope and joy; may you be loved and understood; and most of all, may you be at peace!


Zhoen said...

Love the postcard.

Traditions do change, but it often wrenches.

Two Polish/British art historians you might enjoy this year.

Waldemar Januszczak,

Janina Ramirez.

Cthulku said...

The Victorians really knew how to do cards.

This year played with traditions on my end as well, albeit on a smaller scale. My instinctual opposition to obligation notwithstanding, I think that there's value in a little tradition, but only if it has continuing value. Comparing my experience of the holiday to, say, my conservative sister, I think sheds some light: for her, remaining strongly connected to a -- perhaps idealized -- past is more important than having a pleasant day. I'd rather spend time in a low-consequence context, rather than work through the performance of a bunch of traditions for no other sake than we did it when we were kids. Having an excuse to miss out on the (very religious) xmas eve traditions made the other aspects a lot less fraught for me.

Anyway, I'm glad that you're in a better headspace! Happy New Day!

Cthulku said...

Just realized that the second paragraph's second sentence was basically a meaningless tautology. I meant something more like an echo of your statement about continually reassessing whether or not traditions are worth continuing, or even just worth performing in that iteration. Sometimes taking a break is nice too, and whatnot.

Geneviève Goggin said...

Happy new year, my dear! May 2017 bring you some peace and tranquility.

Lucy said...

That post card is kind of weird! I enjoyed your reflections here. It made me think a bit of this, which was an interesting ten minute listen, I thought:


Wishing you and Mr Monkey the best possible for the coming year, with thanks and appreciation for a treasured friendship.