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Aristotle at Afternoon Tea participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn commissions by linking to Amazon. This means that whenever you buy a book on Amazon from a link on here, I get a small percentage of its price. That helps support my writing in a small way, so thank you. Happy reading!

© 2014-2018 Yara Zgheib All Rights Reserved

 

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On a New Page

January 25, 2018

A brisk January walk to the ice skating rink in Boston Common. A sunny day; it must be crowded with children, and adults acting like children. A fresh coat of snow glistens all around, in winter wonderland white and silver. On the river under Longfellow Bridge, a thin sheet of ice is uncracked.

 

Photo by Maria Mekht on Unsplash

 

Still virgin, it mirrors the spotless blue sky and outline of New England brick. The three hundred and eighty-eight year old city looks brand new in this light.

 

Try a new outdoor activity. Check, I think as I shiver. That New Year resolution will not hold. The others I made still hang on the fridge, ambitious and daunting. Like the snow and, I hope, my first winter in Boston, they will eventually thaw. Melt into distant memory by April, May, be forgotten by July.

 

Forgotten like whatever had been inside the boxes of glossy presents, wrapped in string and satin ribbon, all we could think of last month. With the season of new phones, new sweaters, new habits and decisions at its end, those have been exchanged, regifted, or assigned dusting spots on our shelves. The old they replaced has itself been swiftly sorted, bagged, and disposed of, in the quick turnaround of new pages and clean slates we have become so good at.

 

We have been celebrating new years for about four thousand years, and with each the opportunity to start over and the hope of, maybe, getting it right this year. But snow turns muddy, and shine looses lustre, and even novelty gets old fast. And now the sidewalk is littered with Christmas trees and wilting poinsettia in trash bags.

 

It has not even been a month since we sang Auld Lang Syne:

 

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to mind?

 

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

 

for us to get it right?

 

Auld Lang Syne is an ancient Scottish phrase that means ‘for the sake of old times.’ The very anthem sung around the globe on New Year’s Eve is an acknowledgement of the past:

 

Old friends who can finish old stories, old sweaters that do not scratch, old shoes that slip easily in with the shoelaces still tied. Leftover pizza and chocolate cake that taste even better for breakfast, old notes in old books, old movie stubs and plane tickets, old playlists, old photographs.

 

Perhaps I am feeling nostalgic, or the cold that has seeped in through my coat, but I cannot, do not want to throw them out; they made me who I am.

 

My socks have holes because I wore them out on hikes and camping trips. My giant white scarf smells of my perfume no matter how many times I wash it. My mistakes have left me with scars and bruises – this ice skating folly will add more – but they have helped me grow since last New Year’s Eve. Change is not a circle, but a spiral.

 

January is nearing its end, but there is still time and snow left. So before I forget, a toast: to family heirlooms, well-read books and frayed blankets. To reciting the scripts of old movies and lyrics of boy band songs with childhood friends. To archives and museums, unfinished projects in drawers, and relearning how to play the piano. To potting the Christmas tree, watering the poinsettia, recycling all the gift wrap. To emptying New Year’s bottle of wine, with gratitude this time, for the experiences so far,

 

for auld lang syne,

 

and cheers to those to come.

 

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