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A reflection of the past year

By Pauline Rivera

The world did not cease to exist on Dec. 21. The Mayan calendar’s abrupt ending, the hype generated by media and the possibility of a December end of the world is nothing new to this Latina from a small village in northern New Mexico.

Today we are alive and well, some not as well as others but in existence nonetheless. As we near the end of 2012 and celebrate the arrival of 2013, I am reminded of the one thing about New Year’s Eve I recall as a child. This superstition must have been passed down from one generation to another, because unlike the existence of the Mayan calendar and its connected ending on Dec. 21, there was no calendar or anything else to substantiate this information passed down. I recall my mother reminding us that on the last day of any given year, we as humans were the most vulnerable on New Year’s Eve. It was also a time to reflect on the good or the bad we had accomplished for the last year and the world could end on the last day of the year. It was a time to reflect, to apologize to folks for our misgivings and it was a time to forgive those who had wronged us.

As I grew older I celebrated New Year’s Eve with friends and family. Those celebrations included food, drink and music, but somehow the traditional Auld Lang Syne always made me feel melancholy. It was a sure New Year’s Eve sign that we could not go back to the past — we could only move forward. This beautiful song sealed the past 12 months with a few beautiful lyrics and effectively encouraged you to move forward.

While my parents were a positive influence in my life, my mother had her own superstitions that are evident in so many Latina, Catholic women — perhaps it was a way to keep their children in line or a strategy to force her children to evaluate the past year and make room for improvement.

Whatever the reason, New Year’s Eve is a time to reflect on the good and the bad. It is a time to improve the person you are and a time to right the wrongs you feel you’ve done, and it is also a time to let go of grudges and a time of forgiveness. So my mother was right in a partial sense.

We are vulnerable on New Year’s Eve. Our emotions are riding high. We may be feeling lonely, inadequate, unappreciated, unaccomplished, guilty or perhaps just plain happy with your life.

Whatever your state of mind this New Year’s Eve, we are the only ones who can move forward to make improvements in our lives and then revisit our accomplishments next New Year’s Eve.

May your New Year be a new beginning!





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