On a little bit too much bubbly and more beers than I’d like to admit, I feel almost obligated to wish everyone a happy oncoming 2008. It’s here, of course, whether we like it or not. Time is such an uncontrollable thing, at least for now.

In any event, Eileen points out to me that New Years celebrations seem almost too arbitrary to matter, to which my only conceivable response has thus far been to ask her why other holidays don’t seem quite as arbitrary to her. Solstice celebrations, which are nothing more than a naturally occurring event despite the significance of Christmas and Channukah or what-have-you that people tend to associate with them, are no more meaningful in my eyes than the New Years holiday. The same is true of other givens, such as the decimal number system we are accustomed to using, which evolved thanks to the fact that we have ten fingers on two hands, nothing more, nothing less; after all, computers use binary, since that’s easier to count with electrical circuitry.

So instead of resolutions this year, I thought I’d share with everyone a poem that Eileen shared with me a few days ago. It’s moving, pertinent, and hopeful. Happy New Years, everyone.

If by Rudyard Kipling

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!