JOYNER: A new year means a fresh start

By Jennifer Joyner

It feels to me like we just celebrated the start of 2012, but here we are in 2013. I can't believe how quickly time passed.
A lot of great things happened for me this year. It's been so fun watching my 2-year-old son grow and figure things out. In some ways, it's been one of the best years of my life. Also, I got a job and have met some wonderful people. I've learned a lot and witnessed amazing acts of kindness.
And I guess it's good news we all managed to avoid careening off the “fiscal cliff,” made it through what was predicted to be the end of the world more than once, endured crazy weather and survived the presidential election (that's a miracle).
But in the news this year we have seen acts of terror, scandals, sexual abuse trials, and mass shootings. Last month we witnessed the most horrific crime I have ever heard of. I think the events of the past few months have left many of us ready for the idea of a fresh start. And in a way we have been given one. It's a new year.
I love holidays, and New Year's is no different. When I was a younger the highlight was that I got to stay up late. A few years later, New Year's Eve to me was a fun night with friends and fireworks. Later, when I worked in restaurants New Year's Eve nights were long but exciting.
This year was different. I did not stay up to watch the ball drop. New Year's Eve night, my son Dylan and I did drink some sparkling white grape juice, but then we just watched "Toy Story" and had fallen asleep on the couch by 9 p.m.
Although the actual event of New Year's was less of a draw for me, in light of recent events I think I appreciated the sentiment more than ever. Let's move past some of the negative events. Everyone give yourself a fresh start. Leave behind regrets or grudges. Set some goals, so that you can improve your life and maybe be a little happier, more satisfied.
Of course, it's not supernatural. There's no magic wand that wipes the slate clean, erasing all memory of bad things. I also don't fool myself into thinking because it's a new year everything will be different and that I will suddenly be able to accomplish things I never have before and fix the problems in my life. But it's nice to have goals. I have many, many things I'd like to do better. I don't write down resolutions, but I usually think of a couple and try to work on them.
I know a lot of people don't bother with resolutions. In fact, 38 percent of Americans absolutely never make New Year's resolutions, according to a study from the University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology.
I've heard many people say they know better than to make resolutions because nobody ever keeps them. But that's not entirely true. According to the study, 49 percent of people keep their resolutions the entire year at least some of the time. Thirty nine percent of people in their twenties achieve their resolution every year.
Now, if you're looking for perfection these odds aren't great. But to me, successfully sticking to a rigidly set resolution is not the point — although there is an iPhone app to help you out if you're going for that. It's just about trying to do a little better, and the fact that people are getting positive results is a success.
So I will work on some things this year. But overall I love the place I am starting out in 2013.
Many facets of my life are in early stages. I just moved to a new town that I love and started a new, exciting career. We also have new puppy we are training, adding to our little family. And I know with my son Dylan being the age he is, this is probably the most fun and meaningful time of my life.
I was reminded of this, as I am often am when I'm with him, on New Year's Eve.
We sat on the couch, and my 2 year old raised a Mickey Mouse sippie cup of sparkling grape juice up, saying, “Cheers mommy.” (Toasting has become a favorite activity since he learned about it with egg nog at Christmas time.)
“I love you Mommy,” he said. He then gave me a hug and a kiss.
I can without a doubt say it was the best New Year's ever.