Ah, New Year’s Day. A fine way to start a year. You’ve been up all night, or really really late, and so have slept well into the afternoon. You wake up when you wake up, and eat a combo breakfast and lunch, definitely not brunch, that artificial meal invented by restauranteurs with its rigid menu and obligatory Bloody Mary or Mimosa. This is your own house and you’ll eat what the hell you feel like. It’s New Year’s, a holiday with no special religious or food-oriented connotations for a change.

Maybe you make a few phone calls to family and friends wishing them a Happy New Year while you sip your coffee and eat cold lamb chops and Double Stuff Oreos. If you’re wise you skip reading the papers or watching any news reports today to preserve the illusion that this New Year is indeed a fresh new beginning. New Year’s Day is a time to kick back and relax, nurse your hangover if you’ve got one, watch boring amateur football fames and tell yourself that God is in His heaven, all is right with the world.

January 2nd will be soon enough to catch up on the news that, yes indeed, we’re earnestly fucking up yet another year with suicide bombings, wars, poisoning the earth, sky and water, the wealthy are still pulling their reverse Robin Hood act by robbing from the poor and keeping it, the government is still tripping all over itself to make hard times even harder, and clue-free celebrities are making jackasses of themselves. No, that’s not for New Year’s Day, a day of doing what the hell we feel like and pretending everything is going to be better and different this year.

Hell, some people might even keep their New Year’s resolutions for a whole day, but not all that many of us. After all, it’s a holiday, so all that resolution keeping and breaking can wait a day or two. A holiday like this one with so few ironclad traditions is a gift. After all, New Year’s is all about the Eve, not the Day. People go kind of nuts on New Year’s Eve, and we tend to set ourselves up for even greater disappointment that we usually do if we don’t have the Best Time Ever!

So if you’re one of those masochists, you can spend New Year’s Day either sulking about it, or learning from the experience that good times can’t be manufactured, they just sort of happen. While you can put yourself into a position to have a great time, the fact that it’s New Year’s Eve is no guarantee the night will be any more memorable than other nights. Too often New Year’s Eve is an overblown, overdone, over-hyped and ultimately strange night. Seasoned drunks call it Amateur Night, while many others simply dread the forced merriment of the whole experience.

Not that it has to be that way, just that it too often is. Then one day it dawns on you that New Year’s Eve, like any other day, is what it is, and you choose a little more carefully how you celebrate and don’t over-invest the night with unrealistic expectations. The real bonus of the New Year is New Year’s Day itself, that holiday with few demands and iron-bound traditions. This year most of us got an extended bonus since New Year’s Day was on Friday and we got a whole 3 day weekend to do with as we pleased.

Maybe some of us went skiing or spent some time someplace warm and sunny to recharge the old batteries, and that’s a good thing if that’s what you enjoy. For most of us, though, New Year’s Day unfolds as it will, with nothing particular to do, maybe take a walk in the snow, see a movie or just putter around the house in a robe and slippers trailing Oreo crumbs. That’s a pretty cool vacation too, without having to take off your shoes and walk through a metal detector or worry about the weather. It’s all good.

It’s the New Year, and all things are possible. For this one day, we can do what we want, think what we want and look forward to whatever it is we each like looking forward to, and there’s nothing to stop us. Of course, remember it is vital to not read the papers or watch the news. If you can do that, then 2010 has been perfect so far. Life is fair, the world is at peace and all God’s children are happy, well cared for and living wonderful lives. Happy New Year.

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