MONIQUE BATSON — Why wait for New Year’s Day to start making changes

Published 12:06 am Thursday, December 30, 2021

I don’t fully understand New Year’s Day traditions.

For my entire life, I was told I was supposed to eat cabbage, black-eyed peas, ham and cornbread. Both my grandmother and mother insisted it would bring luck and money — albeit neither seemed to be swimming in either. I, on the other hand, would rather eat dirt. So, despite being a relatively superstitious person, I opted out of what I just assumed was another senseless Southern tradition. I don’t understand how boiling smelly green things and consuming pig parts changes ones life.

I mean, let’s be honest, we just sort of make things up around here and decide to carve it in stone.

The whole concept of New Year’s traditions alone are fascinating to me.

We look forward to one day a year where we can turn our entire lives around. Granted, every day is a chance to change who you are or work on who you want to be; but this is completely ignored. No, we wait for New Years Day. That’s when it’s time to join a gym and lose the weight. That’s when it’s time to quit whatever habit we have that we hate the most. That’s the day when everything is going to change, along with ourselves.

(At least for two weeks.)

For the most part, I’ve given up on the idea of resolutions.

Although, I do try to start each year with a new outlook. I aim to focus more on time with my children and family, reach out more often to friends, be more of a support system for those who need it, look at things with a more-positive view, and spend time when I can giving back to my community however possible.

All basic goals we should all have, really.

The last two years haven’t been easy on anyone. And as I often tell friends and family, it can be even more difficult for those of us who work in media. The things you run from, we run towards. And when the world seems to be burning down around us, our workload doubles. Most people have the option of walking away from bad news when they can’t take anymore, while we follow it.

Every day I wait for local COVID numbers to track trends. I couldn’t escape it if I wanted to.

Even one of my favorite hobbies, recreational reading, has essentially been ruined. After reading at work for hours on end, sometimes the last thing I can handle at the end of the day is another written word. Often times I’ll put my phone on “do not disturb” just to avoid text messages.

And as much as I’d like to think 2022 is going to start beautifully and pandemic-free, the current omicron spike suggests otherwise.

But I’ve applied the aforementioned outlook and made it positive — as in, I’m positive we’ll be dealing with COVID for a very long time.

So I will choose to stay vigilant, continue with suggested booster shots, and stop living in fear.

I will not, however, be eating the traditional New Year’s Day foods.

My mother did once talk me into it. Having come out of a few very bad years, I thought to myself, “What can it hurt? What if there is something to this? What if just eating a little cabbage, ham, peas and cornbread changes my life?”

That was January 1, 2020.

And we all know where that went.