New Year, New Decade

Well, we made it—the holiday parties are behind us, the guests have gone home—hopefully, the house is back in order, or at least getting there—and the resolutions are in place. Whether you said a wistful goodbye to 2019 or gave it the boot with a resounding, “don’t let the door hit you on the way out”—that year is now behind us. Yesterday’s news. Done. Gonzo. 2020 has officially begun—and with it comes the promise of a new year and a new decade.

The week in between Christmas and New Year’s Day has always been special to me. The holiday frenzy is over, and while life has been fun, there’s been a lot of living condensed into a disproportionately small amount of time. Like many of you, I’m ready to step away from the overwhelming intensity fun of the holidays and relax, rethink, and recharge.


Most years, Mike and I spent quiet New Year’s Eves, staying home, eating our favorite Chinese food, and watching movies. Maybe we’d make it to midnight, maybe not, but we’d hunker in and totally relax. Those years were good.

We also spent a few years going to our friends’ house—those were good, too. They didn’t live far away and there were less than 10 people there—a group with some history that got together only a couple of times a year. We knew each other well and there was always a lot to talk about. Again, though, pretty low key.

This year was really different—and that was good, too. Actually, I crossed off two bucket-list items this New Year’s Eve. Bucket-list item number one was to go to an NYE gala. Mike and I had never gone to one, and every year we’d sit in our pjs, watching the parties on TV and say, “Someday, we should do that….” Deep down, though, I always wondered if we would, and really wondered if we did, if I’d manage to stay awake until midnight. We went formal in our community with a group of new friends. Gowns, fancy outfits and suits, tuxes—total glam—and we all cleaned up so well! It was an elegant, classy affair that made me proud of our community. Understandably, the event had sold out in 20 minutes—it came with the promise and follow through of delicious food, great music, casino table games, and beautiful surroundings.

Bucket-list item number two was that I got to wear the mother-of-the-bride’s dress from Lael’s wedding. I loved that dress and swore that I’d wear again. So—done—two bucket-list items checked off the list. And btw, while staying awake until midnight looked iffy at 9:45 (I think some people actually placed bets), both Mike and I saw that magic 12:00 hour and beyond—getting home a little before 1:00. My thanks to our community for sponsoring such a beautiful event, and to our new friends for signing us all up, hosting the pre-party soirée, and making the night so much fun. You are a group of such wonderful individuals, and I look forward to getting together many more times in 2020!


For years, one of the most important and enjoyable parts of the week in between Christmas and New Year’s Day was taking the time to look inward, reflecting on the past year and thinking about what I wanted out of the new one. The house was quiet and I’d look back at each month, remembering what we did and where we went, thinking about how I felt at each of those points versus how I felt then, with the year coming to a close. What was good in my life and what did I want to change? What did I want out of the new year? What was in my control and if something wasn’t, would I let go or try to change the circumstances? I’d prepare for the coming year, making lists of goals, lists of upcoming events, and lists of what I needed to do to prepare for those events. I’d make lists of menus (of course!)—best weekday dishes for cold days, quick dishes for busy nights, special occasion dishes, and dishes that I/we really enjoyed but that I never got around to making. There were probably a few more lists, too…all that info was now there if I wanted a quick reminder or fuel for inspiration, and it was easily available to tweak. Notes to self and goals for self. My game plan for the next 12 months—from activities or events for the kids, to travel plans for the family, to home improvement ideas, career steps, or general self-improvement.

I also took time to dream about how good the future would be. I would visualize the life that I wanted, and those written notes helped me to do it.


I’ve always felt different at the end of the Christmas/New Year’s week—like I had cleaned out my life closets. Not that there weren’t any lingering issues to wrestle with (I wish there weren’t!) but the excess mental, emotional, and spiritual clutter was put away, and I felt that I was managing life instead of reacting to it. I was recharged, and either ready to go toe-to-toe with or be excited about much of what the new year would bring.

Of course, we can clean out these life closets any time we want to—we certainly don’t have to wait for the calendar’s approval. Any time or anywhere, we may choose to sit back and start the internal process—or something unexpected may trigger an “aha moment” or a “waaait a minute…” thought that makes us reevaluate where our lives are. Those times are random, though. The week between Christmas and New Year? That one, I can always seem to count on.


By now, you know that I think about these things a lot. What makes Christmas week distinctive for me is that not only does it come at a set time every year with similar events and activities that trigger similar responses in me, it’s an in-your-face new beginning—and that always prompts me to go one step further, to—reset. Whether the prior year has stunk like yesterday’s diapers or delivered some of life’s happiest moments, it’s coming to a close on December 31st. Like it or not, there’s a new year at midnight, and it’s your choice as to how you will greet it. And this year’s was a double whammy, bringing us not only a new year, but also a new decade.  

So, think about it—is it time to hit reset? There is so much possibility in the year—and decade—ahead. Leave the bad stuff of 2019 and/or the prior decade behind and move on, and bring the good stuff with you. The future is now, and it’s giving us all a fresh start. Use that to your advantage and dream big.

Happy 2020——and yes, I really do believe that the best is yet to come–

Undeniably, there’s been a lot of news lately that makes many of us question the above outlook/belief. I really do believe it, though. We all live individual lives, and those lives evolve largely from the choices that we make. Self direction. The world as a whole may appear more negative, but that doesn’t mean that you as an individual can’t thrive.

Obviously, circumstances play a part too, but even then, you decide how you will deal with those circumstances. If you aren’t happy with the path that you’re on, start taking steps to change it.–there may be more in your control than what you’re giving credit to.

And while there is plenty in the world to be negative about, we can’t lose sight of all the good there is, as well. I willing to bet that you have a lot to be thankful for.

So, look forward to the coming months and years–“the best” may be close to your own back door.


Until next time,

Copyright 2020 – 2023 Maggie Stenman Communications, LLC