Was 2019 a good year for you? Of course it was! Did 2019 suck for you? Obviously! Because that’s how years go. We can all find fuel for whatever narrative we’d like the record to show.
What if instead of wishing friends and family a happy new year, we wished them a balanced new year?
I’ve kept a daily journal since 2007, a few quick lines to capture the day’s events. At the end of last year, I started a tradition of listing the year’s biggest moments. Turns out, 2018 was a wonderful, terrible year.
I had to put down my beloved dog Cisco. Boo.
My older son moved back from LA. Yay!
I got a pacemaker. Boo.
My boyfriend proposed. Yay!
It was a dramatically balanced year.
That assessment reminded me of a trip my now-grown sons and I took to Chicago when they were in middle school. We’d wandered into the “Mythical Creatures from Around the World” exhibit at The Field Museum, where the story of the Chinese lion dance caught our attention. We stood in a quiet row reading about how the clanging music and aggressive movements are intended to chase off evil spirits.
Over a big fat Giordano’s pizza that night (best in Chicago, fight me), we had a wonderfully nerdy conversation about the museum plaque that explained the yin and yang connection to this New Year’s tradition. This ancient culture didn’t suppose that evil could be driven away completely, or for good. They were asking for balance between lightness and darkness.
WOW, we said with our mouths full of the best pizza in Chicago. It’s almost like some ancient cultures have learned that bad things are always going to happen. And that they have a system for coping with them emotionally when they do.
Hollywood does not encourage our culture to look for balance in our evil. We want it vanquished. Annihilated. Spread in a lifeless smoosh of invading alien bits at the feet of the handsomely wounded protagonist, or knocked into endless space by a superhero with a sculpted polycarbonate six pack.
Our culture wants to win. Decisively. Just today I learned that in Japan, ping-pong clubs go head-to-head for TWO GAMES. An even number. Meaning there are frequent ties. With no winner. And no loser. Shall I go on, or is your skin crawling? Congratulations, you may be an American!
What’s my point, besides the fact that wrapping up in one of Karrie’s effing cozy, gorgeous blankets is foolproof yang to balance any excess of yin you encounter this year?
Oh. Actually, that was it.
Wishing you a very balanced New Year, friends! Talk to you soon!
A NOTE FROM KARRIE: Clearly I have a thing for contrast— you can see it in my work. You can’t have highs without lows. And flatness means you’re dead. So I will take the ups and downs any day…. it means I’m alive.