New Year’s Eve is so overrated. It is my least favorite day of the year. First of all, I can’t stand goodbyes, even if I’m only saying goodbye to an arbitrary marking of time. There are always reasons to feel sad–unfortunate events, loved ones lost, hard times endured, unrealized hopes and dreams, the inevitable passage of time. Another year down, another year older, and not much new to show for it… bah humbug.

Then there’s all that pressure to do something extremely fun on this one particular night. It can’t just be fun, it has to be extremely fun. Why? Why do we feel a need to party so hard on the last night of the year? What are we trying to prove? Truthfully, I don’t find being around a bunch of other people, making small talk, and getting drunk very much fun at all. When I was younger I would go out with high expectations for the night, ultimately only to be let down. I’m sure there were a few years when I had a good time, but overall, NYE was always a lot of hype with little return.

Once I had kids, I had an excuse to stay in and chill. Which was great. I can’t stand watching any of the New Year’s Eve specials on TV (which seem to be a gathering of the most annoying people in entertainment), so we would spend the evening listening to music, playing games, and enjoying each other’s company. We would turn on the TV just in time to watch the ball drop then bang on some pots and pans, give kisses, and go to bed.

Now my kids are older and hanging out with their parents is a lot less fun. I’m once again reminded that I’m supposed to go out and do something FUN to ring in the new year. Sadly, there’s this notion that anyone who spends NYE all alone is terribly sad or pathetic. But that’s EXACTLY what I want to do!

So that’s what I’m doing. Right now.

Solitude is especially necessary for me tonight, as 2016 was a heavy year, and I am rather dreading what may be coming in the months (and years) ahead. I don’t feel like celebrating and I don’t feel like being around people. My first task tonight is to come to terms with all of what just happened. So much talent lost, so many celebrities gone. So much violence, pain and suffering. So many acts of hatred. Mass shootings. Police brutality. Police killed. Terrorist attacks. Devastating hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires. Political corruption. Pulse, Zika, HB-2, Aleppo, Flint, Standing Rock, Harambe, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, North Korea, Townville Elementary, Ghost Ship… the election. Gaaaah! And that’s just what comes to mind! Good lord, why did 2016 suck so hard?!

Alas, there is no definitive answer for that. Part of me has wondered if this isn’t some sort of punishment. Perhaps God is smiting humanity like he did to the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah, like he did with the Ten Plagues. I mean, the intensity seems of Biblical proportions, does it not? Well, I don’t believe in a punishing God, and I won’t presume this is the end of the world even if it feels that way. Let’s face it, life has never been easy. Darkness has always plagued mankind. The media just does a damn good job of highlighting (and instigating) the crap. Resolution #1: find legitimate, reliable news sources and do not pay heed to crap.

My second task tonight is to dig into my spirit and unearth what has been hiding there. All of the negative news of the year has weighed heavily on my psyche. Which has triggered personal pain that begs to be explored, exposed, and managed. There is only one way I really know how to work on this… to make art. The challenge for me tonight is to focus on process, not product. This is not about what I create, but what I move through while I’m creating. Resolution #2: make more art and worry less about whether or not it’s any “good.”

Finally, though I am not a religious person, I am deeply spiritual, so my third task of the night is to pray. My deepest wish for 2017 is peace. I pray that love and kindness and compassion enter our hearts and move us to positive action. I pray that we can learn to get along despite differences. I pray for the oppressed to be empowered, for those suffering to find comfort, for the downtrodden to find strength. I pray that light overtakes the darkness that has spread throughout 2016. I pray for humanity. I pray for the Earth and all its creatures. May we all be blessed with joy, good health and prosperity this year. Resolution #3: have faith.

Several years ago, I started a tradition that would make this “holiday” more meaningful. I’ve since heard of others doing something similar–there may truly be no original ideas–but it’s worth sharing nonetheless. On New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, write down everything you want to let go of on a piece of paper. Burn the paper. Next, write down what you want to manifest or grow in the coming year (preferably on rice paper or something biodegradable). Bury this in the ground. Finally, write down everything you are grateful for in this present moment. Put it in an envelope marked with the new year, and save it. I’ve been doing this for many years and have a stack of envelopes. They are filled with blessings and serve as a reminder of how much I have to be grateful for each and every day. That’s something to smile about… even at the close of a monumentally shitty year.

How have you come to terms with 2016? What are your resolutions? What are your traditions? I’d love to know, so please comment if you have answers! Oh, and I’d also love to know if you can recommend reliable news sources ?

Happy New Year everyone!

With Love & Compassion,

Adina Arden Cooper

I'm a healer, a guide, a supportive companion. A storyteller, an artist, an ally and an advocate. I help individuals thrive and communities come together through counseling, coaching, and community building. I believe that shared humanity is a powerful strength and that our stories connect us in beautiful and sacred ways. As I stumble, skip, or soar my way through this life, I invite you to join me on the journey. Likewise, I'm honored to travel with you. In witnessing one another, we find meaning.