For decades now, my tradition on New Year’s Day is to listen to U2’s song of the same name. It gets the blood nicely pumping.
After the garbage fire that was 2016, I’m not in a celebratory mood. I am, however, in a determined one. And since I mean to begin as I’ll go on, I’m aiming for some gender parity. I’ve chosen Mary Win to join my New Year’s Day beginning songs. It’s hopeful without being sappy, and we could use some hope.
Today, this is my guiding phrase: “Start as you mean to go on.”
I began this year with some self care: a good nap, a snuggle with the kitty, and the traditional reading of “Stopp’t-Clock Yard” by Susanna Clarke. I don’t even know why that story became the New Year’s story, but Misha and I try to read it together every year.
Then we read a bit of The Fuhrer, because fighting Nazis is a thing that is happening this year and it’s important to understand the past in order to deal with the grim present.
And then we slept a bit, and I got up and gave my friend B a hug, and had some food, and got straight to work. Later, I’ll go see a movie with another dear friend. That is what this year will be: fighting power imbalances and bigotries, making time for friends and art, resisting fascism, and working hard to get us all through this as whole and hale as possible.
“Start as you mean to go on.”
That’s the phrase I’m living by today. Which is why later, poor B’s going to get abandoned to his own devices again while I get some fiction written. Because stories matter. They may matter more now than at any time in the last eight years. I’m going to set aside time this year to write stories, not just non-fiction.
It won’t be an easy year. It may not even be a good one. But we’ll do our best. We’ve got each other. So we’re starting off okay.
This is a good song for how things feel right now. It acknowledges that things look pretty grim. It knows they may never be completely right again. But it also knows there’s some hope, and we hold on to that.