Liam – January 2, 2018
As I write this, it’s a few days before New Year’s Eve. Like most people, I am looking back on the year that was and counting all of its successes and failures and the steps or missteps that led to either. And I am looking at the new year with a familiar sense of hope and excited uncertainty of what it will bring. I’m also trying to decide how my wife Kim and I will bid farewell to Old Man 2017 and welcome Baby 2018.
I’ll admit that we’re a little late in planning out our New Year’s Eve. If we’d been thinking further ahead, we might have spent the celebration in Copenhagen. Danes gather with friends and family for a hefty meal before taking to the streets with thousands and thousands of others to count down to midnight and revel among the champagne toasts and fireworks and hugs and kisses.
That’s very similar to what we do in Chicago (or anywhere in the U.S., for that matter), but it would be anything but routine for this Danish-American. The big difference between what’s possible in Chicago and what’s possible in Copenhagen is that Chicago is bitter cold, whereas Copenhagen’s weather this time of year is in the 40s.
The other benefit is that Copenhagen’s famed Tivoli Gardens is open for New Year’s Eve celebrations for the first time. Alas, Kim and I won’t be ringing in 2018 in the world’s second-oldest theme park with its rides, food and massive Fireworks Festival. But, hey, isn’t that what a new year is all about – making resolutions to do something new, something even better than the year before?
Considering that by the time you read this, it’ll be 2018, and at the risk of being too cliché, I’d like to address that very thing: resolving to do new things in the new year. In Denmark, New Year’s resolutions are known as Nytårsforsætter.
Losing weight, doing better at the office, or not letting the office dictate your life and other such common resolutions are great to have. But, let’s be real; those are the kinds of things that can so easily get swept aside or out from under our feet once the new year becomes old hat, which usually occurs right around January 15.
So, too, does the hefty resolution of spending more quality time with the friends and family we held so dear during the countdown. But this is one that Kim and I are going to try especially hard to do. If that requires buying gym membership passes for our loved ones so that we can kill two birds with one stone, so be it.
One of the great benefits of The Danish Home is that it is always prepared to play host for quality time. Between birthday celebrations and monthly calendars busting at the seams with activities, residents and their friends and families always have reason to get together. In fact, with The Danish Home’s 125th anniversary in 2017, the entire year felt like one big holiday celebration!
Traditionally, I’m not one for making Nytårsforsætter, as it always feels like I’m setting myself up for failure. Maybe I’m channeling the famed Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard when I say this. The Paris Review recently published a short piece on this very idea, referencing Kierkegaard at the start. I mean, honestly, who do you know who has ever kept more than 10 percent of their New Year’s resolutions?
Still, I’m approaching resolutions differently this year because, well, I want to be a better husband, brother, son, grandson, friend, etc. I also have to be honest with myself, as we all should be about our Nytårsforsætter. We might not meet them all to the degree we want at the beginning of a brand new year, but there’s a lot to be said for trying and being aware that we must avoid complacency and strive for the new, the exciting.
Maybe next New Year’s Eve, Kim and I will have our plans laid out a little sooner and celebrate in Copenhagen. But wherever we are, this is going to be a good year. I’m resolved to make it so!