Savoring the Moment

I have received a good number of texts, Twitters, emails, and Facebook messages wishing me Happy New Year this evening. I am truly glad that so many people wish me well for the New Year but it’s really a bit premature because the New Year has not yet come.

At this time it is still New Year’s Eve or as we Scots prefer to call it, Hogmanay. We Scots are very superstitious about celebrating the coming of the New Year. This is THE Scottish holiday. You don’t have to go very far back in history to find a time when hardly anyone even noticed Christmas because this time of year was all about Hogmanay and New Year’s day. There are many traditions associated with this evening and all are tied to the success of the upcoming year. It is really only proper to wish a Happy New Year after the bells although now I’m living in the USA I should probably say after the ball has dropped.

These premature wishes are very typical of how I find life in the USA. I’ve lived here for 15 years now and I love living here but I do still find myself something of an outsider observing life from the inside. The term Resident Alien is very appropriate. Over the 2009 holiday season this particular behavior seems to have been even more pronounced than usual. Perhaps it is the prevalence of social media which is affording even greater insight into the daily lives of those around me. This holiday season I have watched as successes were proclaimed along the way. Christmas shopping finished by Halloween, Christmas decorations and trees in place before Thanksgiving, and Christmas cards sent before December are just a few examples of these achievements. The flip side is the exclamations of relief that it is all over while the Christmas turkey is still being digested and the questioning of how soon is it acceptable to consider taking down the tree and other decorations.

What I find missing is the ability to savor the moment. This is not wholly reserved for the holiday season. There are more examples and I will share them in time but this is the example most prominent in my mind at this time. In Scotland and Europe in general I think we like to take our time in these moments of celebration and if they go on a bit long that’s okay. Of course, it could be that we just don’t know when we’ve outstayed our welcome.

Living in America

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