As this New Year’s Eve approaches, I’m doing what I always do. I’m thinking about what has happened this year, to me personally, in the lives of our family and friends, and also what has been going on in our country and world. I usually feel a sense of relief on December 31st as the clock ticks down from ten to one. Saying good-bye to the past and all its challenges and saying hello to the future and all its promises – just feels good! There was one year however, when the thought of what the new year would bring seemed catastrophic.
My journal entry December 27, 1999 Fountain Hills, AZ:
“Is the sky really going to fall in a few days? Will the stock market crash? Will our country have a massive power failure? Will our electronic devices go berserk?”
That year was 1999. The turn of the Millennium.
All major newspaper headlines, magazines articles and TV reports warned of Y2K, aka the Year 2000 problem. An article written by P.J. Huffstuffer for the LA Times in February of 1999 started with, “On a quiet cul-de-sac in an upscale Newport Beach neighborhood, preparations are being made for New Year’s pandemonium.”
I remember asking Robert who worked in the industry at the time, what the hubbub was all about. Basically, the problem stemmed from the formatting and storage of calendar dates starting in 2000. Up until then, the year in computer systems was represented by two digits. What would happen when xx99 became xx00? The concern was that computers wouldn’t recognize “00” and would crash.
“Some fear that the nation’s power, communications, water and financial systems – all strung together by computers – could malfunction, creating worldwide chaos.” P.J. Huffstuffer , LA Times
Whenever I read and hear about issues we all face, my first question is, “What can I do?”
Then after questioning myself, I do as I always do. I go to Robert for his opinion. I asked, “What do you think we should we do?” His response was simple. Straight forward, really. He said, “Party like it’s 1999!”
So on December 31, 1999 we rented a limo, picked up our friends Gary and Lori in Phoenix and headed to the America West Arena for the Judds’ Reunion Tour concert!
What a night it was! Naomi and Wynona began the evening with “Love Can Build A Bridge” and twenty-two songs later, ended with “Freedom”. We sang, we danced. We enjoyed every minute.
When the clock struck midnight, we were at Gary and Lori’s home. There was that familiar sense of relief I always feel, but this time it was stronger. Because the lights stayed on and the fireworks went off. The earth kept spinning. All was right with the world.
At 12:00 o’clock on this December 31st, I will still be saying so long to 2020 and all of its challenges. But not before acknowledging how all is not right in the world. Our world. The amount of loss, upheaval, and division. It’s not just one problem, it’s many. And the sense of relief will come from exhaustion. An exhaustion that may be felt collectively this year.
And I will still be saying hello. Hello to the future with all the promises it holds…for new leadership, vaccines, and a hope that as we move forward, we remember to treat each other with more kindness and respect.
Now when I ask myself, “What can I do?” I know one answer. And when I ask Robert for his opinion, the answer will be the same. It will be simple. Straightforward, really. We’ll be staying at home this New Year’s Eve.
All the best to you and your loved ones. Good-bye 2020 and Hello 2021! Stay well and stay safe. May this new year be brighter for us all.