Did you happen to catch the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day? It was only telecast to 100 gazillion people across the planet, half who are gnashing their teeth in envy over the beautiful Southern California weather. I know, it’s really not fair.
I live near Pasadena and if I weren’t so lazy, I might have joined the huddled masses lining the streets yearning to catch a glimpse of flora and fauna. Instead, I leaned into the warmth of my soft suede sofa, hot java in hand and enjoyed the show in glorious, 52” digital color thanks to the good folks over at Vizio.
Years ago I did the poor man’s version of a front row street: a plastic and steel frame lawn chair after a night in a thin sleeping bag over concrete. I was more limber back then. And dumber. Older and wiser now, I start my New Year in cocooned comfort instead: let the young-uns have the streets, I say. I will be happy and old in my family room.
The floats and equestrians were just fine. I can’t say much about the marching bands, cuz that’s when I skipped out to use the bathroom or load up on snacks (apologies to parents of marching band students).
What I absolutely loved was the theme! The theme? That overlooked, little slogan that float builders try to make us believe their creations reflect? Yup! That one.
“Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” struck a chord in me.
Not just because my kids read Dr. Seuss growing up and paid homage to the Cat and the Hat and Thing A and B at Halloween one year, but because it is full of potential and excitement. Isn’t that why we celebrate New Year’s and make resolutions; to improve some area of our life in the next 12 months? We all want to get to someplace, metaphorically speaking, and usually it’s a better place than where we are now. Better job, better relationships, better finances, better body.
Underlying the theme is the assumption, that we will, in fact, go somewhere. The theme is not a question. It’s a declarative statement. All of us will go somewhere this year, maybe intentionally, maybe accidentally. At the end of 2013 we will all be in a different “place” than where we are now.
Life does not stagnate: it keeps moving forward. Despite any losses, disappointments or hurts of the past year, I want to keep moving forward, too. This is a new year and there are new places to explore.
I want to jump on that rose-covered vehicle called “my life” and do my princess wave all the way down the boulevard. I don’t’ want to break down at the turn and have to get towed by Big Bubba’s Trucking. But even if I do, at least Big Bubba will keep me moving forward. I want to get to those places that are part of my journey in the next year. I don’t want to miss out. And so, I keep moving forward. I hope you do, too.
There is anticipation in this statement: Those two little letters “O” and “H,” put together form a sound of gleeful expectation, and even wonder and curiosity at what lies ahead. Every year on Jan. 1 our hearts are filled with “Ohs.” Some people declare them in the form of resolutions, others journal them privately. Still others pray and pour out their hearts desire to God, or a loved one.
New Year’s Day embodies a chance to start over with a clean slate in areas where we have failed. We take stock of the past year and look at the New Year with the expectation of doing better. I want to have an anticipatory mindset: to anticipate that whatever may transpire between now and Dec. 31, I will be a better person because of the blessings and, yes, the challenges I will have encountered.
This phrase is an antidote. An antidote to a mindset that says all the fun is done. It’s not! Believe me, I am no spring chicken, but when I heard the theme of the parade something in my heart budded like an April daffodil. Yes! There yet remains work to be done, relationships to be enjoyed, goals to be accomplished.
- If you are breathing, you can still dream.
- If you are thinking, you can still create.
- If you are feeling, you can still love.
No matter what your age or stage in life, there are still places for you to go and experiences for you to revel in. Let this little phrase be the antidote to the poison that says the best years are gone, there is nothing to look forward to, and we are stuck in regret and misery.
BTW: If you haven’t read the full text, you should. Dr. Seuss packs a lot of truth in a children’s book. He doesn’t just talk about the happy places we will go, but the slumps, the lurches, the waiting, the indecision and the prickly places of life, concluding it’s really all a balancing act filled with the hope of a great journey. Wisdom, indeed.
May it truly be a Happy NEW Year!
What are the places you hope to go to this year? Share in the comments below!