Onward to 2011, Serenely

24903754-1APOLOGIES FOR THE LACK OF NEW YEARS FIREWORKS here at casaCARA. Know that I wish you all good things (and nothing but) in 2011, but I have a hard time working up genuine enthusiasm for the changeover of the Roman calendar from December to January. New Years Eve has always felt arbitrary to me. The real new year is in spring, as far as I’m concerned, at the start of the gardening season, when all is green and fresh, and the constellations begin another turn around the heavens. My birthday is in early April, so that clinches it for me.

September is another pretty good New Years candidate, when the world again feels reborn. However long it’s been since school days, there’s still a residual rush of excitement and hope like the one that always accompanied the start of each new term. And the Jewish New Year in autumn, with its ritual chest-beating and long period of self-evaluation, carries much more spiritual weight for me than the secular resolutions (lose 10 pounds again) I tend to make in January.

I find January a distant, anticlimactic third as far as New Years go. It feels manufactured. Nothing really changes, except things having to do with tax preparation. January 1 brings to an end one year of record-keeping and ushers in another. Whoopee.


That curmudgeonly said, in the past I’ve always made some effort to celebrate, to do something, go somewhere. Last night, New Years Eve 2011, was the quietest I’ve ever spent. On the heels of a medical scare (a bad reaction to a drug intended to bring my blood pressure down — instead it went up), I was alone in my Brooklyn apartment, lying on the sofa with Keith Richards’ new autobiography, listening to jazz radio, a cup of tea by my side.

Celebratory it wasn’t, but I was suffused with well-being and gratitude, feeling lucky I didn’t have a stroke, and that I didn’t have any elaborate New Years Eve plans to cancel. I talked to one child, texted with another, got emails from a few old friends. I basked in the yellow-painted glow of my new apartment, above, surrounded by things that spent 18 months in storage and that I’m very happy to see again.

Still, in an effort to get with the New Year program, let me share something I re-discovered in the course of my recent move: a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, now stuck to my refrigerator door (change “day” to “year” if you wish):

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. Begin it well and serenely, and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.”

If that isn’t wise counsel for the coming year, I don’t know what is.

About cara

I blog for fun here at casaCARA, and write about architecture, interiors, gardens and travel for many national magazines and websites. My recently published posts and articles can be found here: https://casacara.wordpress.com/recent-articles/
This entry was posted in BROOKLYN, BROWNSTONE DECORATING, MISCELLANEOUS and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Onward to 2011, Serenely

  1. Nouveau Stitch says:

    Sounds like a nearly perfect NYE to me (sans the drug thing – been there, done that, felt like crap). I couldn’t agree more about the manufactured “holiday” that is January 1. If I could, that would be the day I’d crawl into my cave and then I’d emerge just in time for baseball’s opening day. I’ve decided the only way to get through it is to buy a little fixer-upper (I live in Michigan, they’re literally a dime a dozen) and decorate to my heart’s content.

    I enjoy your blog.


  2. cara says:

    Ellen, how nice to hear from you out in Michigan. Glad you agree about NYE; makes me feel less like a grouch. Decorating a fixer-upper, eh? Sounds great — do send pics!!

  3. hamptontoes says:

    I think your New Year’s Eve sounded perfect! We are low key at my house too. There is something so nice about relaxing and taking it easy at home. We are in the Hamptons this weekend and it’s been nice to be out here. Since you of fond of fixer upppers, I have to show you what we bought in the Hamptons and what we’ve made it…truly a labor of love, sweat, tears, etc!

  4. cara says:

    HT, would LOVE to see pics of your Hamptons fixer-upper, before, during & after. Please send!

  5. Terry says:

    Happy New Year. Hope you don’t push this serenity thing too far. As long as you are getting enough Pale Carnelian, Keith Richards, and absurdities, you should be just fine.

  6. cara says:

    COL, Terry Really appreciate your readership and comments. Keep on tourin’…

  7. Your bedroom color is Awesome.
    Love Love Love it.

  8. cara says:

    Glad you approve. I thought you were neutral lady!

  9. Eileen says:

    Happy & HEALTHY New Year, Cara. (Husband says you should get another doctor…) I love the colors in your apartment…. & I agree with you about New Years – should be celebrated when the buds start forming on the trees. Hope to see you back in E Hampton in the spring!

  10. cara says:

    Good to hear from you, Eileen! Happy and healthy to you & yours, too. Glad you like my colors – I’m enjoying them. Of course you’ll see me in the spring…it’s just around the corner, practically…

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