Saturday, December 31, 2011
Out With the Old!
My favorite time of the year is the last two weeks when we celebrate the holidays and wrap up the year with friends, family, and parties. I finally let myself off the hook for all of the things I didn't get accomplished during the year, and I look forward to getting another chance at another year to figure my life out. Yippee and Hallelujah!
December 31st calls for reflection and taking stock of the year I'll leave behind. However, this morning, I found myself taking a trip down memory lane and journaling about special New Year's Eves of my past. I remember a New Year's Eve in Tokyo, Japan in 1984. I was nearing the end of a four month stint working at Tokyo Disneyland as Slue Foot Sue in the Diamond Horseshoe Revue. Those were a wild four months of singing and dancing all day, then going to discos and partying 'til 5 a.m., and spending time hanging out with the 80's band, Wham, and The Rod Stewart band. I was young, carefree, and made great friends I will never forget. On December 28th of that year, I went to a Bonenkai party ("year forgetting party") with a group of Japanese friends, where we drank tons of beer meant to wash away the old year's worries and leave our troubles behind.
New Year's Eve, however, was not spent partying. I went to the home of a Japanese fashion model friend named Seishi, who's mother had prepared a special traditional New Year's Eve meal of toshikoshi soba, and at midnight, we went to a Buddhist temple in Tokyo and stood in line to bang on a huge gong. Buddhist temples all over Japan ring their bells a total of 108 times to symbolize the 108 human sins (whatever they are) and to get rid of the 108 worldly desires (whatever they are). Japanese believe that the ringing of the bells can rid their sins of the previous year.
As it turned out, the New Year is the most important holiday in Japan--years are traditionally viewed as completely separate, with each new year providing a fresh start. January 1 is a very auspicious day, and the day is supposed to be full of joy and free of stress and anger, while no work should be done. I love this way of looking at the new year, and I am embracing it!
Coincidentally, right after I finished journaling this morning, I got my first 2012 New Year's greeting from a friend on facebook who lives in Japan! She wrote, "Akemashite Omedtou!" It was 4 a.m., New Year's day in Japan.
2011 will go down in my history as the year I broke my femur. Now, I would like to walk forward into 2012 without leg pain. I'd like to forget the broken leg ever happened--it's sooo 2011. So tonight, I will drink to wash away the old, and I'll raise my glass at midnight and toast a fresh start. And this year, I think I'll ring a bell 108 times slowly while chanting, "out with the old, in with the new."