We chose to spend New Year's Eve home with our younger children. Our teenagers all went to to parties and dances and asked us not to embarrass them by showing up anywhere they would be. (It is difficult for me to understand how parents can be such an intense source of embarrassment for their teenagers.)
The evening before, Susan and I enjoyed the Friday night seafood buffet at the Skyroom in the BYU Wilkinson Center, an evening I would recommend to anyone. Saturday afternoon we had taken Alice Day, Susan's mother from American Fork, for her annual New Year's Chinese dinner. Alice will be 88 years old in May and is so arthritic she claims she can anticipate a snowstorm three days in advance. Still, she seems to enjoy life and gets around quite well.As it grew closer to midnight the kids broke open their traditional bag of potato chips, chip dip and root beer. We watched television as the new year approached. Then we, along with the crowd in Times Square in New York, counted down for the New Year.
At the stroke of midnight we cheered along with those on television. But it was not our children, Susan and I, nor the TV crowd that caught my attention. As the new year came in, Alice clapped her hands and cheered, "I've lived another year!"
Watching a near 88-year-old woman celebrate that she had lived another year gives perspective to life. All during the day on national television several people of note had stated what the new year meant to them. But here in our own living room was an older woman who simply cheered because she had survived one more year. And as soon as 1989 had commenced she set her goal to live to see the year 1990. And I think she will.
During the previous week it was interesting to see what newspapers, radio and television thought were the most newsworthy stories of 1988. But each highly rated news story often involved some tragedy or human misfortune. There were murders, trials, executions, fires, floods, fraud and the like that seemed to represent the darker side of human nature or experience.
During New Year's Day Susan and I decided we would make a New Year's resolution. (And as far as I can remember, it was the only one we made.) We decided in 1989 we would try to conscientiously look for and take note of the good and more pleasant aspects of life. We agreed we would each start with ourselves and try to focus on our good qualities even though we each recognize our own faults and weaknesses.
Next, we committed to each other we would do the same with our marriage. We would try to concentrate on what is going well in our relationship in the year 1989 rather than become preoccupied with what is not. We also decided we would try to dwell on the more positive aspects of our children and family life rather than frequently remind each other what seems to be going wrong.
The admonition to dwell on the more positive aspects of life is not new. Hundreds of years ago it was recorded in the Bible "whatsoever things are true . . . honest . . . just . . . pure . . . lovely . . . (and) of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." (Phillipians 4:8)
Let's all heed the ancient wisdom to focus on the more positive aspects of life in 1989, and like Grandma Day . . . all hope to live one more year.