Goodbye 2017

It is the last day of the year 2017. I am thinking of the 365 days past. I am contemplating what the New Year may bring. I have no crystal ball. Nobody has an answer. If we are a few billion people with a brain on this planet, every single one has different hopes, wishes, and beliefs. I am trying to write a blog that means something, possibly something that touches a nerve in everyone. Everyone? Who am I kidding! I can but try. And try I will.

New Year’s Eve: We celebrate and make a lot of noise. We make New Year’s Resolutions, resolutions that will be broken within the next few weeks or even days because ‘life happens.’ Something always gets into our way to do what we set out to do, want to do or planned to do. We woke up with a thought to write a fantastic blog – someone asked to do something else, and everything changes. The mood, sometimes even the energy is gone. What we really wanted to say changed. The moment, that magic moment, when you felt just right to do this one thing, is gone.

Looking back on 2017, it was a troubled year. Worldwide, politically and for me, even personally. But what is my personal pain compared to the pain of thousands of people fleeing their homes with just the cloth on their back, children starving, soldiers raping helpless women, beheading or killing well-meaning men? The worst is that all of this is done in the name of religion. Did anybody choose to born a Muslim, a Christian or a Jew? Or belonging to any of the many other denominations? How many Gods are there? I always thought there was but ONE, and he is a loving God, not one who spews hate and fire at one particular group that tries to kill another group. Who’s side is HE one when soldiers in war pray for victory? I’m reminded of a little story:

A zebra goes to see God. He asks ‘Lord, am I white with black stripes or am I black with white stripes?’

God looks at the zebra and says: ‘That depends entirely on how you see yourself.’

I like to see it not just depending on color but ‘how we see ourselves.’ Has HE given humanity ‘free choice’? A choice to do what is right? HE doesn’t get involved in humanity’s foolishness. Someone on Facebook asked ‘How can God let this happen?’ and another answered that HE may have turned his back on us because we don’t allow HIS name in schools, and we try to banish him from our lives. It’s troublesome to think about all this. And, maybe it is better not even to write about it. I stepped into a wasp’s nest once when I wrote an article for a newspaper questioning different parts of the bible and mentioned Emmanuel Kant’s Philosophy. It was also a New Year’s write-up, and boy, did I touch many nerves! The Newspaper had a hay-day with all the pro- and contra letters for weeks!

What do I look back to, personally? Problems with my health, physical problems that affected me mentally. I got depressed but tried hard to pretend all was alright. I had a terrible time getting to work on my sequel to my memoir “We Don’t Talk About That.” In that book, I was honest and told how it was, and I couldn’t find a way to tell what happened to me and my life after those first thirty years. I thought of all the things I still had to do, wanted to do and never got around to do. I went through all my files, sorted, destroyed and found papers I didn’t want to go into the wastebasket after I’m gone. I found poems I had written over many years, mostly funny ones, many with double meanings, my goodness, actually a history of human life during the years starting around 1960! Reading these gave me hope and smiles back, and a will to do something with them. My little book “Ein Mensch von Gestern – Heute” was born. It’s in my first language, German, but there are still a lot of people who do speak it. The title means “A Human from Yesterday – Today.” The story of how we people from yesterday cope with life as it has changed since yesteryear. Hahaha, and now we are back to today, the last day of 2017.

Did I have moments when I thought of stopping the time from flying? Yes, there were some. But how do you stop time? With a stopwatch? Heh, buddy, it doesn’t work that way.  Every breath you take is part of a second that moves time forward. Did you ever read Goethe’s ‘Faust’? The first two lines inspired me this morning to write about it. Here is part of Dr. Faustus’ conversation with Mephisto about time:

“If to the moment, I shall ever say
‘Oh, linger on, thou art so fair!’
Then may you fetters on me lay.
Then I will perish, then and there!
Then may the death-bell toll recalling,
Then from your service you are free;
The clock may stop, the pointer falling,
And time itself be past for me!”

The answer of the devil, Mephisto, was a warning. Faustus should not be hasty with his wish, but if so, he wanted it in writing, signed with blood. Maybe here we find a base for what we often say nowadays: ‘Be careful what you wish for, you may get it!’

       Happy New Year to all of you! I love you, my readers! I love people!
A big hug for all!

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New Year 2017

image4The end of one year and the beginning of a new one is always a time of reflection. We think back to what has been and what has happened during the last 365 days. What was good? What was bad? What did we achieve, if anything? Did we reach our goals or did we forget we even made a resolution at the beginning of the year? In most cases, we probably did forget or gave up. Why? Because life isn’t like that! You cannot rely on a blueprint, written in stone. You can’t wish for deviations and you can’t know about the things that might, or will, happen to throw you off course. Why did nobody ever think of selling us insurance for a good year? We try our best to make it so! More of us think of exercising more and eating less. Others have a bucket list with travel dreams and they vow to make at least one wish come true. Some even wish to be nicer to their parents, relatives, friends, or neighbours. This one only works if it comes from both sides – unless all is hunky-dory anyway – which, in most cases, is not so. Since I have listened to many people tell me their stories this topic has become quite disheartening for me.

However, we celebrate the beginning of a brand new year and hope for new beginnings. It’s like having a book with 365 empty pages. We intend to fill these pages with good stories and, before we know it, we write “The End” and look back on another year and wonder where the time has gone. I am reminded that life is like a toilet roll – it goes faster the close one comes to the end! So it goes, year after year.

I remember my teenage years when friends and I would peel an apple without breaking the peel. The peel had to be in one piece. We would close our eyes and throw the peel over our head. We looked for a letter in the way it fell. Rather like reading teacups that letter was the first initial of our future husband. The name of every boy we met meant a lot and we would always hope to find the one with that particular initial. Did it work out that way in my life? NO! If you dreamed you were dancing the waltz with someone, that someone would become your husband. When finally old enough to go to parties we would be dancing into the New Year. I usually went to the dance with a bunch of other girls and we all hoped for a good dance partner. If you didn’t like him you rushed to the bathroom shortly before midnight to avoid having to give him a kiss. Things were so different in my youth! There were lots of public balls and parties, now the celebration is mainly private.

When I was married and living in Canada I learned a new way of celebrating the New Year. It did not matter if you were at a dance in a club or at a basement party room in one of your friend’s houses. The midnight kissing was a big part of it. It wasn’t just your husband you kissed. Everybody kissed everybody and I hated it. It was so unhygienic and some men had so much saliva around their lips. Okay, go ahead and laugh, I don’t think I missed too much by avoiding it after the first year! I just couldn’t do it. I usually disappeared until it was over. I remember quite a few years when I shivered outside while looking for a falling star to make a wish. I wished to see a falling star and when it happened it was so fast that I forget to wish for something. Life can be so unfair!

image101I remember one New Year’s party in the exquisite Fort Gary Hotel in Winnipeg. I think it was the first time ever I was tipsy. I was coerced to drink too much champagne. I felt on top of the world in a wonderful ball gown and dancing every single dance. I was so happy, it must have been contagious because it seemed every man in the room wanted to have a dance with me. I didn’t feel tipsy at all, but when we went outside (it was -32° Celsius) and stood on the steep stairway waiting for a taxi, I had to hold onto my husband. I was terribly dizzy. I remember him laughing! He thought it was funny and found it even funnier during the night when I fought the effects of a horrible stomach flu! “Stomach flu?” He teased me and didn’t feel a bit compassionate – the miserable old bugger. I don’t like champagne anymore.

Waiting for the bubble to burst

Waiting for the bubble to burst

Another party, my best New Year’s party ever, was the Millennium Party of 2000! Friends, who are members of the prestigious Vancouver Club, had secured a table for twelve couples and we all had a whale of a time. I think we had to ‘endure’ a twelve-course dinner. The entertainment and the music were second to none and I tried to get as much dancing in as possible. I would rather dance than eat or drink champagne! When the band played a ‘Cha Cha Cha’ I was showing my partner the steps and in no time we were joined by eight or ten others who also wanted to learn this fun dance. The plan was to attend the next New Year’s Party in Vienna but it didn’t work out that way. It wasn’t in the ‘blueprint’ for 2001. That Millennium Party was the last real New Year’s party I attended.

image102The years have come and gone since that wonderful Millennium Party without making an impact or adding to unforgettable memories. Now, the New Year’s night is just another night and even trying to stay awake and watch the countdown in New York doesn’t always work. It’s part of aging. It must be. But the memories haven’t faded nor have the dreams of dancing into another New Year stopped.

Welcome and cheers to 2017!