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Simply Maya

New Yearís Traditions

Maya Hand

(Jan, 2010)  Happy New Year! Itís the beginning of a new year, a new slate, a fresh future. Last year is in our past, and although we cannot change our past, we can learn from it. We can use our experiences to help us make better choices the next time. New Years is a time for traditions, resolutions and a time to be grateful for all that we have.

On New Yearís Eve our family tradition starts with Nathaniel, Ana and I having the choice to stay up late or going to sleep until Mom and Dad wake us up close to midnight. When we come down the stairs, we go into the living room and watch together as the ball drops in New York City. We count down, "10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1! Happy New Year!!" We drink sparkling grape juice and we talk and laugh together. I feel ready to achieve new goals, gain new responsibilities as well as opportunities. I am excited about the New Year!

New Years Eve means a new year of love, a new year of troubles, a new year of joy, a new year of learning. To me, the new year also means trying new things. This year our family is going to try out a different New Yearís tradition from a different culture! We are going to honor Spainís tradition! What people in Spain do for New Yearís Eve is eat one grape on each of the clockís twelve bells for midnight. For each grape you eat, you make a wish. I hope we donít have trouble stuffing grapes in our mouth!

Because it is a time for a fresh start, and trying new things, New Years is also a time for resolutions. This year my New Yearís resolution is to reduce my stress. Sometimes, I get so worked up over things I need to do that it just makes me feel even worse. If I could reduce my stress and worry, it would make life a lot easier for me. My mom has been working with me and talking to me about my stress and ways we could reduce it. She has been helping me a lot, but the second half of helping me is what I need to do. For example, I know that when things get hard, I need to tell myself thereís no reason to stress and that I can do it. I need to remember that I should be proud of myself and that the people who love me, will always love me no matter what. My mom is also teaching me about deep breathing. Deep breathing is when you take a really deep breath in, hold your breath for four counts and then breathe out, even slower than you breathed in. My mom has taken yoga classes on and off over the years, and she learned the technique there. I use it every once in a while, and it really works well. Most of the time when I try it, I go straight from stress, to calm and a little sleepy. I think itís kind of funny when that happens. Iím excited about my fresh start.

At the beginning of the calendar year everyone is so excited about the idea of a new beginning, a new year. But during the year, we get distracted by many struggles and challenges. But every single challenge we face makes us stronger. There will always be another mountain to climb, one with rough edges and steep ridges. And sometimes we will slip and fall, but we lift ourselves up and keep climbing. It will be hard, but as we go, we get stronger. And then, once we reach the top, we look down at how far away from the ground we are, how high weíve climbed. We feel confident with what weíve achieved. Best of all, we are stronger. Our experiences have changed us. We are stronger people, we have grown in mind and heart.

The new year will include challenges that can be hard to overcome but will only make us stronger. If the world posed no challenges, if we never slipped and made mistakes, there would be no lessons in life. Every day of our life, we grow stronger. Thereís a saying, "Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift." We should cherish each day and count our blessings, not our worries. I know Iíll be working on that one this year. Happy New Year everyone!

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