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Diarist C45 Day 21

Observations of a ‘lost’ holiday, an extended one, friends and frivolity on a long weekend.. 

Saturday, Dec. 31 

The back-to-back holiday weekends of Christmas and New Year’s have a different feeling as the calendar turns to 2023. I turned 50 recently, and two of my three children have moved out of the house. Their sibling turned the calendar into adulthood and will start school in the fall. I characterized these feelings in a longer, more pensive manner in another blog, not my own, for which I occasionally write. There have also been changes on a more individual level. My wedding anniversary was once close to the New Year’s holiday, but I’m since divorced for about a decade. My old spouse remarried this month, so if it seemed like a “lost holiday,” before, I guess the feeling is now mutual. 

Following the family-togetherness of Christmas, which is largely enjoyable but sometimes feels forced, I’ve “resolved” this weekend as one of good friends and good food. A challenge is presented in that since I don’t really get into typical New Year’s Eve festivities. It’s not a new trend, but as an adult I’ve observed its? de-evolution over many years into Amateur Night. I’m no stranger to adult refreshments, and I enjoy the culture and camaraderie of the bar scene, but the craziness of New Year’s eve is more than I can stomach, especially given I have good entertainment and refreshment options in the quiet (and safety) of my own home. Going out briefly in the late afternoon and repairing in the early evening suits me fine, and going home I already observe three patrol cars in the process of scraping one overserved gentleman off the sidewalk. While law enforcement helps keep us safe and provides important services, I find it perpetuates the cycle of misery for many, and vow not to be drawn into its revenue stream, at least not on this night.  

I’m able to join one of the college football playoff ™ games in progress once I arrive home, and watch the entirety of the second, save for nodding off for about a quarter. I cheer for the Big Ten, though I don’t really have a dog in the fight since I didn’t attend either school (Michigan and Ohio State for the non-sportsball folks out there), and don’t particularly like either team or its coach. Their respective opponents are a southern church-affiliated school (Texas Christian shorthanded to the secular TCU) and Georgia, an SEC renegade whose “alumni” have been making political news of late. I’ve always been a sports fan, but dislike what big-time college football has become over the years, so that’s the root of my cynicism. The second game concludes literally as the ball drops, and I’m awake about an hour into 2023. 


Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023 

Since the weather is decently warm today, I’m taking down my own Christmas lights and decorations, and helping my mom do the same in her own yard before it turns again. I have noticed on frequent walks and drives around town that more homes are leaving their lights up and illuminated well into January. In many windows, a tree is still visible. I’ve been faithful in removing, or at least powering off, my lights at the new year, so I’m wondering why and when others do so. Is it an observation of Orthodox Christmas? Do the lights beat the wintertime blues? Do their owners see them as “seasonal” or “holiday” décor even in Muncie “Keep Christ in Christmas” Indiana? 

With my lights removed and packed away for another winter, I’m checking in with friends at a local establishment for any good stories of New Year’s revelry, professional football games, and whatnot. It seems nearly everyone’s was as quiet (and uneventful) as my own. 


Monday, Jan. 2 

I’m off work today for my employer’s “official” holiday, so it’s a morning of sleeping late, some actual breakfast food instead of grabbing a bottled “coffee” going out the door, and a relaxed morning.? A close friend and I take a hike around the reservoir in the early afternoon, and enjoy being out in the fresh air, even if it’s a little cold. 

We’re walking the multi-use hiking and bike trails around Prairie Creek.? While it’s definitely the offseason, it’s nice to visit the reservoir areas that are not covered in people’s garbage and refuse, in the way so many of the fishing areas are. It’s often very frustrating to me and others that whenever the Muncie area develops something nice for public use, others seem to take it as their duty to desecrate, vandalize or outright destroy it. I don’t understand if it’s a mentality that has developed over the years, or if people simply weren’t taught better. 

It’s been easy to be discouraged for humanity lately, and for the state of things in the country. Maybe an incident that concludes the New Year’s weekend offers some hope: A football player is traumatically felled by an apparent freakish happening in the Monday Night Football game. While first indications of a sudden collapse could suggest a brain or other neurological injury that have generated much concern over the last few years, later replays and testimony from medical personnel conclude it to be a heart attack triggered by a forceful blow to the player’s chest. It is serious enough to require the player to be resuscitated on the field in view of other players and spectators, who are visibly shaken. The rest of the game is suspended, and, as I later write this, canceled. Despite a lot of commentary about the lack of compassion, empathy, and especially the “gladiator” mentality in which we view modern athletes, my social media is unanimous in support of the decision to postpone, and keeping things in perspective. While I find myself in the unusual position of not wanting to contribute to the discussion, I find the healthier perspective and basic empathy to be encouraging, in stark contrast to what I’ve read online and experienced in stadiums across the seasons. Or, perhaps.. Maybe it’s a sign that others with an insensitive opinion have read the room and, while they can think what they’d like,? had the sense to keep their mouths shut! Baby steps in 2023…