Adios 2020

One second after midnight tonight, will anyone will be sorry to see 2020 end?

The day will change from Thursday to Friday, and one of the numerals we use to represent the year will change from 0 to 1. These are minor differences.

Nonetheless, we will celebrate these changes with grand outpourings of relief and hope. As we plug our ears to dull the roar of the fireworks, we’ll simultaneously toot a horn or beat a drum, creating still more of a racket. Is this a step back to primitive behaviour? Or is it just plain old fun?

Because of the need to socially distance there won’t be a lot of kissing and hugging, but once the noise dies down, our instinct to survive will manifest with resolutions to do better.

This New Year’s Eve especially, we’ll probably be glad the year is over. In Mexico, the fervent wish to chuck the old has given rise to a uniquely humorous (and noisy) custom.

Families decide on a figure that personifies their take on all that was wrong with the past year. Often it is a political figure (Donald Trump has been a popular choice the past four years) but 2020 provided us with an alternative. None other than the Corona virus.

Using any materials that are at hand, the figure that represents the Año Viejo is constructed with mischievous delight, and when it is done, it gets stuffed with old crumpled newspaper and firecrackers (sí, sí, sí – the extra noisy ones called, petardos) A way is found to make it stand or sit upright and usually it’s placed front and center, like a prisoner in the dock.

After the affectionate greetings at midnight, the Año Viejo is doused with some sort of flammable liquid and a match is struck. As the fire shoots higher, old and young step back – and tripping to the light fantastic – they hurl scathing epitaphs at the burning effigies.

Finally, once the secretly held pyromaniac urges have been locked back up, it’s time for the annual resolutions. These are all about survival, don’t you think? It seems that they speak to the universal need for some kind of control over what the Future holds in store.

The future is unknowable, and having no clue about what’s to come makes us feel unsafe, and we look for ways to take control. Maybe committing to positive changes could give us a feeling of security over the uncertain days to come.

Tonight at midnight, perhaps along with vowing to reclaim that youthful silhouette, reduce the intake of the Demon Rum, and wear off the tread of our Nikes, we could also promise to help right a few wrongs of global concern.

Pick a community initiative and donate your time or cash. Tutor children in English or computer skills – don’t know how to get more information about volunteering – ask on the facebook forums. Give 10 pesos to the woman and her child who are begging. Tip 10 pesos to the parking guys who are keeping your car safe. Give generous tips at restaurants because the wait staff are working reduced hours. Buy from local small businesses.

Enjoy this country where you have chosen to reside for all or part of each year. Focus on what you like about living here and be part of the solution. Do not get upset with the small stuff and be part of the problem.  

Happy New Year!

Published by Changes in our Lives

I am originally from Canada but have lived in Mexico since 1976. My husband is from Merida, Yucatan and we raised our family here. We both worked for many years at Tecnologia Turistica Total (TTT), the tourism, language and multimedia college we founded for local and international students. Now retired, we enjoy spending time with family and friends, My other interests include spending time with freinds, reading, painting, cooking and travel.

12 thoughts on “Adios 2020

  1. A positive attitude to the year ahead is perhaps the best resolution. What can each of us do to make our community a better place. Most of us cannot change the world, but each of us can do something to make our neighbourhood a safer, cheerier place. Make plans, start somewhere, even if it is planting bright flowers in tubs by by the door, or paint that door! Hello 2021!

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    1. Happy New Year Auntie Alice. Yes, we’ve all made great strides this year… Who hav believed it? Sending love and wishes for a creative year with family, friends, knitting, travel and more. Happy New Year!

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  2. Happy New Year, Joanna to you and your family! I wish you good health and…hopeful signs that 2021 will be a better year. 2020 certainly taught me the value of family and the friends I wasn’t able to see. Memories are a blessing and it was good to read your post!

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    1. Family and friends are the chosen ones indeed. I can hardly wait to see them again. But I can’t complain. Merida is a good place to have passed the lock-down. We have so many creative people who provide us with all our needs. Ingenuity has a world source and it is right here. Happy New Year!

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  3. Hoping we will see you & all the friends I have not been able to, in person, at some point in 2021.
    My only resolution this year will be to just be positive about things in general. I will not fret or get down if I do not lose all the weight gained, cannot go see friends yet, have to wait longer for the vaccine because of age & where I live, etc etc. To just enjoy what I have, the new sewing machine, and family & friends.

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  4. Dear Joanna — Thanks for this wrap-up of the old year. I think the challenges of next year will be many, but there is definitely hope on the horizon. Wishing you and Jorge the will and strength to deal with your challenges and seeing more positives than negatives! Happy New Year, dear friend! xoxo

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  5. No matter how terrible 2021 may turn out to be on a macro scale, on a micro scale (where we actually live), I wish the best for you and Jorge. We are blessed to live in a land where most of the world’s travails seem just a bit distant — especially in our respective provincial settings. Blessings are around us every day.

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    1. Yes Steve… although the world’s travails seem close and ever-present from where I sit (watching my peso-based economy dwindle) But I have faith because other terrible disasters have been resolved… Happy New Year to you.

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  6. Joanna, I love blowing up the Ano Viejo! I think this tradition is “primitive fun”!—it’s both past behavior and good old fun, as you said! I didn’t really understand it at first because the folks I was with on past New Year’s eves would always blow up an old man sitting in a chair. Thanks for making it more clear. Thank you also for seeing the positive things we can do in the new year. Simple, small  things, mean so much. Now that we are mask wearers, have you noticed how the beautiful wrinkles on our faces, especially around our eyes, speak volumes when exchanged with kindness with others? I love that. Who would have thought a gift like that could come from this tragic pandemic? But I see it all the time. I’m also glad you mentioned that amount to give, 10 pesos. It keeps everything going, yes? Perhaps it is like the old “tithing 10% idea…OK, too curious, I had to google search, and found that–as it relates to Christianity: It’s “seed stock”! “Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness” 2 Corinthians 9:10  Also, the tithing principle is for OUR benefit in “how to be unselfish.” “God is trying to teach us how to prosper over time.” Fascinating, yes? And just as you said, a person can “tithe” by volunteering or by serving those in need. Thanks, Joanna, for helping us focus on being part of the solution for the new year!

    P.S. If you haven’t seen them already, I recommend the movies SOUL and The Croods A NEW AGE for New Year nourishment and encouragement!

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    1. Great insights Harold. As always. Have I mentioned that years ago I was with a friend and I complained about always being asked for “something” He pointed out that we who have an abundance (maybe not a huge amount, but something more than many do) we have a responsibility to pay “social tax”. Such a good way of describing the concept of “share the wealth”… Yes?

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