There is nothing I love more during the holiday season than getting my Christmas tree all set up and decorated — except well, taking it down. Even though I love gazing at the pretty lights and ornaments I have collected my entire life, there is something almost cleansing about breaking her down, packing it all up and exiling the boxes to the attic for 11 months. It’s the first step to the New Year and a fresh start.
Perhaps that’s why I found an event held in New York’s Times Square last weekend so intriguing. It was called Good Riddance Day. Organizers asked people to bring a picture or document of something that had been troubling them all year. It could be the picture of a “significant other that turned out to be not so significant,” a credit card, student loan or mortgage bill that had been paid off or health records that signified a triumphant defeat of an illness or hope for that defeat.
Or you could just jot something down on a piece of paper — anything that had caused you some sort of distress or pain in the previous year. Then the document shredding company Shred-it, tossed it in a giant shredder for you and got rid of the problem, so to speak.
Shred-it and forget it, they chanted.
Though this is nothing more than a genius marketing move for this company, I really like the sentiment. It’s based on a Latin New Year’s tradition where people stuffed dolls with objects representing bad memories and burned them.
It made me think it would probably do us all good to fire up our lighters or office shredders and do a little cleansing of our own this New Year — even if it’s just metaphorically.
We all carry some level of hurt feelings, anxiety, sadness and/or festering anger around with us about a variety of things — from problems at home or the office to lingering issues with family or friends. Sometimes we know exactly what is bothering us, and sometimes I don’t even think we realize we are harboring such ill inside. Some of these things we may be able to address, but some we may not able to do anything about, except as “Frozen’s” Queen Elsa would sing, “Let it go, Let it go.”
So sometime between dismantling my Christmas tree and watching the MoonPie drop, I think I will be extracting some sadness, hurt, bitterness and anxiety from my own soul and saying sayonara to it. I may even burn it in the fire pit if I get really crazy.
But it also got me to thinking about what we — as a community — should “shred” as well. I don’t know about y’all, but I am ready to shove 2014 out the door on so many different levels.
It was a year marked by divisions, disappointments and utter tragedy.
The Mobile City Council battled with the new mayor, often along racial lines about such things as water board and fire chief appointments. It was disheartening to see these issues devolve and twisted into false narratives at times.
I really never thought anyone – much less our city leaders — would still be arguing along “racial lines” in the year 2014. If you told me that 20 years ago, I would have called you crazy. But unfortunately we are, not only in this community but nationwide, with events like Ferguson only serving to remind us we still have such a long way to go. It’s frustrating because I truly believe there are many, many people of all races who want to figure out how to bridge this divide once and for all, but it’s hard to know where to even start.
While it was not along racial or even party lines, the arguing between Mobile County Commissioners Connie Hudson and Jerry Carl over a proposed soccer complex was even more vicious. At times, I just wanted to scream like I do at my kids, “Stop and go to your rooms!” (I didn’t bother. Because like said kids, I’m sure they would have just ignored me.)
Look guys, I understand you both have your positions and have to defend them, but it seems like it’s going beyond that now. Sing “Auld Lang Syne” and then sit down together and literally find some common ground. I guess said ground has been decided upon already, but maybe you guys can at least decide on the type of ground it is. (It’s swamp. No it’s not. Yes it is. No it’s not.)
I don’t care what kind of line it’s along, I really am so ready to say good riddance to the arguing of 2014 and see some things get done in 2015.
In addition to the bickering, we also saw a popular leader accused of corruption, the cruise terminal sit another year without a ship and GulfQuest get delayed again. And there are plenty of things we can jot down on our list to shred.
But without a doubt the most heartbreaking event of 2014 we experienced as a community was the death of 8-year-old Hiawayi Robinson. When I think about the way she died – if she did in fact die the way the authorities have alleged – I get overwhelmed with emotion. I really can’t even think of anything more awful. And words like awful and terrible and horrible and unspeakable just don’t even seem to be potent enough to describe what happened to this pretty little girl last seen while wearing a Hello Kitty shirt.
I definitely want to say good riddance to thinking what that poor child went through. But hopefully, in 2015 we can say hello to bringing her killer to justice, among other good things.
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