Today is January 1st, my annual day of reflection. It usually takes only a minute or so of shallow thought. I don’t even sit in my thinking chair. The reflection this year is the same as last. It’s not the most desirable, but it’s probably the most natural. Hold that thought.
It has always been an annual tradition to watch the ball drop on New Years Eve. Never missed it. When I was dating Rosemarie we’d usually go out somewhere, but somehow we always arranged to be in front of a TV at midnight.
I have notoriously bragged for many years that I even know who preceded Dick Clark as host of the annual mob scene from Times Squares. But this year it took me a day or two to remember the name…but that’s part of the “natural” mentioned above. His name, by the way, was Ben Grauer, a long-time personality on NBC radio back in the day when most folks kept a radio on almost 24/7. Anyway, Ben would do the standup bit from Times Square each year throughout the 60’s. He was the featured midnight element of the Jonny Carson show (and Jack Paar before him) every December 31st until Dick Clark took over, rockin’ it in the 70’s.
When you grew up in the 50’s and 60’s, launched your career in the 70’s and attempted to make it and your family expand and flourish throughout the 80’s and 90’s and into the next century, each year becomes more and more a remarkable benchmark. When I read Orwell’s 1984 in high school, that year was so distant in my future it was hard to accept when it actually arrived the night I watched the ball drop in its honor. That said, you can just imagine how difficult and daunting it is to realize that today marks the beginning of the year 2018 and I am here, no longer working, but alive and kicking, if even with a bad leg.
Those earlier New Years Eves were fun, encouraging and optimistic. It was easy counting UP. But somewhere, sometime along the way, more recently, all that changed. Suddenly the timetable reversed itself and it now seems that each New Years Eve I count DOWN…it’s a whole new direction. Encouragement and optimism have become more challenging as the number of doctor visits, the variety of pills and the spread of pain all continue to expand. This is the reality for just about everyone my age. Not everyone handles it in the same way. I am open-mined about it and still see the glass of water with which I take my pills as half full.
So last night, I watched the ball descend once more as yet another generation, now hosted with Dick Clark’s successor, Ryan Seacrest, rang in the New Year. I counted down the ten digits with everyone else and watched 2018 light up and begin its reign. 2018…WOW! And then, the reflection—the one I said that is not so desirable, but ever so natural…is this my last ball, or do I get another one to watch next year?