“New Year’s Day is every man’s birthday.”

Happy New Year!

I remember when I was a kid, I was thrilled when I first stayed up until midnight on New Year’s Eve. It was a struggle, but I made it. New Year’s Day, however, seemed no different from any other day so I didn’t quite understand all the hoopla. Now, each year is another notch in my belt. I stay up without any trouble and watch the ball descend and hope to remember to change the year when I write out checks.

Today is still far too warm for winter at 48°. I remember a few years ago we had a terrific snow storm on New Year’s Eve, but this winter so far has been a bust. We had a sprinkling of flakes one afternoon, but they disappeared when they hit the ground. Mind you, I’m not complaining, wondering is all.

I can vividly bring to mind so many milestones in my life, and each New Year some of those jump out at me, and I remember becoming me.

I remember wanting to be thirteen, a magic number. It was like a giant step moving from twelve to thirteen. All of a sudden I was a teenager. The world was in front of me. I figured I’d have my first kiss, my first boyfriend, first slow dance, high hair-do and nylon stockings, and I got most of them.

After thirteen,  I couldn’t wait to be sixteen. I knew all the songs about sweet sixteen, and I had high expectations. Most of those weren’t met, but I was okay. The world was still in front of me. On the horizon was the end of high school and the beginning of college.

I loved college. I loved learning; I loved my friends, and I love the parties. We had a great time just about every weekend. Senior year was the year of Friday happy hour get-togethers at the bar owned by a friend’s father. It was a weekly tradition to be packed in that bar and take turns passing the trays of food over our heads to one another. It was a great way to start to say good-bye.

The Peace Corps was next, a defining time in my life. I had planned on applying since my junior year, and I did in October of my senior year. It wasn’t a long wait. In January I knew I was going to Africa. I couldn’t believe it.

The longest stretch of time in my life was from that January until the Sunday in June when I left for staging. When I arrived in Ghana, I was amazed, mouth opened amazed at everything I saw. My entire experience was like that: a joy, amazement. The two years went far too quickly.

When I came home, I had no job, but I found one and stayed at that same school for 33 years then I retired.

That brings me to now. I can’t find all the right words to say how much I look forward to each day. I wake up, go downstairs, make my coffee and then read the papers. Every day starts the same, but I am never bored.

Today starts another year of being retired, of having the world still in front of me. I can hardly wait.

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13 Comments on ““New Year’s Day is every man’s birthday.””

  1. Hedley Says:

    Sometimes the Sunday Times of London just plain gets it right
    “Lions shed losers tag to roar into NFL playoffs
    Rejuvenated Detroit have the Super Bowl in sight after years of failure”

    I guess even in London they know that the Detroit Lions ARE Americas Team…….SUH!!!!!!!!!

  2. Morpfy Says:

    And now my `1st post of 2012. Did you ever wonder how Jan – Dec. came about??
    Well watch this and then” think”Thats the way it was”

    —————————–
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzprsR2SvrQ&w=640&h=360]

    Now you know !!

  3. olof1 Says:

    I’ve never really cared about new years eve or day to be honest. Yes IU’ve looked at the fireworks and enjoyed it but that’s it. Our tradition over here is to look at one of our most popular actors (the same one every year, having that job is one of the things most actors would like to have) reading Lord Alfred Tennyson’s poem “Ring Out, Wild Bells”. Even when people are at a party someone always put on the tv so that everyone can hear it.

    I’m a child of the sixties so most of those mile stones in growing up was sort of gone. I was five when i had my first kiss 🙂 There is photo evidence of it too 🙂 After that I think it was fifteen that was important, that’s the age when one is allowed to drive a moped and eighteen of course, the day one becomes an adult 🙂

    I wish we had had something like peace corps over here! I’m pretty sure I would have signed up for that. I loved studying but making money was funnier I guess 🙂

    Have a great continuing of this new year my friend!
    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      When I was young, I went to parties. When I got older, I liked an ebening with friends playing games. Last night I stayed home by nmyself and I was fine with that.

      I love that tradition of reading the poem.

      We don’t get our license in this state until 16 3/4. It is a milestone for everyone.

      I didn’t make any money in the Peace Corps. They put $75.00 a month away as my pay, and I received it when i got back. While we were there, we had a living allowance for our needs.

      Thank you, Christer. You are one of the pleasures of my writing Coffee.

  4. Zoey & Me Says:

    Retirement doesn’t come easily without a pension and who knows where SS will be down the road. I would have to hit the Lottery now that the housing market is down and took 57% of my equity with it. We realized last year this house was too big for us but when we built it we were 10 years younger. Now it’s one chore after another. I have a curiosity about 2012 but can only say it can’t be worse than 2011. Glad to read you found what you liked to do and got paid for it. And got a pension. Very good. I sincerely hope prosperity returns to the U.S. this year for the middle class and more people can afford to help the poor.

    • katry Says:

      Z&Me,
      When I started teaching, the last thing on my mind was securing my future by having a pension. Even as I got close to retiring I wasn’t great at planning. My house got paid for as did my car, and then I was debt free (my big plan), but then I bought a new car.

      I have enough money to live on and that’s all I need. I bought my house in 1977, and the mortgage was half my monthly salary. Those were the lean years.

  5. Bob Says:

    New Year’s Day used to be special because of the big televised college football games. It was a day to sit on the couch, eat junk food and cheer for a team from a college you didn’t attend. That was before college football became such a huge profitable business instead of a sport. There used to be the Orange Bowl in Miami, the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans the Cotton Bowl in Dallas and the big daddy Rose Bowl in Pasadena and all of them were played on January the first. Now there are hundreds of Bowl games played weekly from Christmas night until the middle of January and all of them are meaningless to anyone except the bookies in Las Vegas and the alumni who are looking for a warm place to party for a couple of long cold nights. Why don’t they have a game for the worst two teams in division one college football? They should play it in some god forsaken frozen out post like Bozeman Montana, no offense intended to the good people of Bozeman, and call it the “Toilet Bowl”.

    This year I became so disconnected from the holiday that I forgot to watch the Rose Parade and didn’t even think about it until just now. Everything changes every year. America’s team used to be the Dallas Cowboys. That was when God watched his team play through the hole in the roof of Texas Stadium. Now, the Green Bay packers are calling themselves America’s team. I assume God loves someone who would wear a plastic triangle of yellow cheese on their head. Sorry, but until Detroit wins a couple of Super Bowls it can’t be America’s team. We should remind the last person to turn out the light before leaving Detroit when moving on to a city with more favorable economic conditions. Will Detroit become the smallest city in America that supports four major sport franchises. Will the Chinese buy enough Buicks and Chryslers to keep the factories in Tennessee and in South Carolina humming while the factories in Michigan continue to crumble?

    Every year starts out like a new baby with high expectations for the year and ends up being lowered into the grave as the time ball in New York is lowered on the pole. Eat whatever food you think will bring you good luck because in 2012 we will need all the luck we can get. It will certainly be a bumpy ride with the Presidential election in November accompanied by months of campaigning and thousands of hours of stupid attack ads on radio and television. The economy is still in the “Toilet Bowl” and our European friends aren’t helping. They are unable to decide if they really want to become a “United States of Europe” or not. I am not surprised that they don’t really trust each other because historically they have only been able to decide to do one thing together and that’s to engage in warfare. The northern Europeans don’t like their southern neighbors and the British still don’t think that they are really Europeans even though people have swam across the Chanel to France.

    I think the Chinese have a good idea. They celebrate their individual birthday on Chinese New Year in January or February. Everyone has a week long party as they all age together as a group. Imagine 1.3 billion happy birthdays.

    Next year on the first day of 2013 I hope that everyone whose days are made better by Kat’s retirement project will still be on this side of the grass along with all of their loved ones. Also, that in the next 365 days they are blessed with good health, happiness and maybe a little extra money in their pockets.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      I am only a so so football fan, but I know that there are now bowl games that even teams with barely a winning record are invited. I watch the Patriots but am not interested in other games though for my brother-in-law’s sake I check out the Broncos.

      The Rose Bowl Parade is tomorrow. Some law in Pasadena forbids it from being on Sunday so you didn’t miss it. I figure the Patriots should be America’s team by the very nature of their name. Most fans don’t root for other than their home teams so I can’t say any team is really America’s team.

      I am always optimistic at the start of a new year. I figure it has to get better, and it is, far more slowly than we hoped, but there are glimmers. The European Union is stuck bailing out each other. I don’t think that was foreseen ten years ago.

      I wish health and happiness for all of my Coffee friends. Bob, I’m hoping yours is the best year in a long while!

      I think God is more of a tennis fan.

      • Hedley Says:

        And for those who don’t think that the Detroit Lions are not America’s Team, I have just one word for you……SUH

  6. katry Says:

    My Dear Hedley,
    A sack does not a game make!


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