Make no mistake, I embrace the idea of the impending New Year like everyone else - with excitement and trepidation all at the same time. It's funny how one day on the calendar can make us feel so many different emotions.
Some of us may be sad to pull the last page off the 2012 calendar because just maybe it was a very good year. Others may be glad to boot 2012 into the history books with the hope that we can successfully dodge the upcoming fiscal cliff to the other side of bureaucratic mountain in Washington, D.C.
My brother, Matt, enjoys Jan. 1 as it not only marks the start of another 365 days on the calendar, but it is his birthday as well. Most people whose birthdays are so close to Christmas must feel slighted in the gift department as the funds are usually running thin and the credit cards are still cooling off from the previous month's purchases.
When my husband and I were first married we went out on New Year's Eve with other couples and danced the new year into being. The gals got all gussied up in fancy dresses and we made the guys wear those goofy party hats. That's when local hotels hosted extravagant parties with live - yes, live - bands. We usually picked the location based on the best package deal and music. It also was the era of disco. We thought we were so cool dancing to the Bee Gees hits.
At midnight, hugs and kisses were exchanged and then it was on to eating sauerkraut and pork which was meant to bring good luck in the new year. If we stayed at a hotel, there was no need for a designated driver, only some Alka-Seltzer in the morning.
I guess there are still such celebrations on Dec. 31, but we leave them for the younger set who manage to stay awake lon enough to see the lighted ball drop into New York City's Times Square. Sometimes we manage to stay awake but when your work day starts before sunrise, that's a tough event to witness unless you sneak in a nap during the afternoon.
Plenty of people I know despise New Year's Eve. It can be a sad time for people who find themselves alone or who just don't enjoy the party scene. There's nothing wrong with being alone, but lonely is a whole other ball game.
Tons of famous singers and songwriters have made fortunes on being lonely. Remember Elvis Presley's "Are You Lonesome Tonight" with that deep, sultry voice? How about Bobby Vinton's "Mr. Lonely"? It was a chart-stopper for the bobby soxers. And country music thrives on sad and lonely. Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" actually made fans weep at concerts.
Whether 2013 brings more sad songs or reasons to celebrate, let's do it together. Americans know how to overcome just about anything because we stick together. We just need to get that message across to Congress. Happy New Year!
Heather Ziegler can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.