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Posted on Wednesday, January 3, 2024 at 8:00 am

My Take

By Mark McGee

Well, we finally said good-bye to 2023. Good riddance I might add.

After a challenging 2022 I had high hopes 2023 would be better. Those hopes were dashed on many occasions.

Granted there were some good moments, but the challenges I faced overwhelmed them. I saw an opinion piece asking the question “Did anything good happen in 2023?” The writer suggested there were some good things mixed in with the bad.

In song we are urged “to count our many blessings and name them one-by-one.” I am thankful for the blessings I received in 2023. And I am well aware there were many who faced challenges much greater than any I have encountered over the last two years.

Sunday, usually a day of worship, doubled as one of celebration for many with New Year’s Ever parties of various sorts being held.

I have never really understood New Year’s Eve parties. I have been part of New Year’s Eve celebrations in New Orleans, Louisiana; Orlando, Florida; and Dallas, Texas. There is nothing more special than having someone just barely miss your shoes as they throw up in an overly crowded French Quarter. Though I do admit watching Huey Lewis and the News perform at Hollywood Studios in Disney World was a mellow way to enter the next year of my life. Dallas was all abuzz with the hockey game between the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars outdoors the next day.

While those were all nice diversions in their own ways I prefer a quieter and calmer farewell to the old year. One of my favorites was watching a New Year’s Eve marathon of Marx Brothers movies on TCM.

New Year’s Eve also has a strong touch of sadness for me since on that night many, many years ago I made a decision to end a relationship with a woman who I discovered too late was the love of my life.  I regret the decision every day, but it is more strongly felt at this time of the year.

Oh, I can understand wanting to say farewell to the past year, especially if it was full of hardships, even if it means we have closed another chapter in the book of our life. But why is it an excuse to overindulge?

But being excited about the prospects of the “New Year” ahead baffles me. It is okay to be optimistic about the future. It is one of my many failings that I often lean more towards the pessimistic approach to life.

But we don’t know what is going to happen in the next minute, much less what is ahead in the next year. For all of us the year in many ways will be more of the same with ups and downs to deal with. Let’s pray there are more ups.