Best and Worst
December 13th, 2012

My parents have spent every New Year’s Eve with the same three other couples for the past 30 years or so.  They all met through church, back when their families were very young, and they’ve shared many seasons of life together.  They celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, children’s weddings, and all other manner of significant life events.  It’s a collective friendship that I really admire.

One of the group’s traditions is that on New Year’s Eve each person lists his or her “best” and “worst” for the year.  They’ve taken care to gently police each other’s responses, making sure that no one claimed a child’s SAT scores or MVP trophy as their own “best.”  As they’ve seen careers shift, grandchildren born, parents die, and so on they’ve had the chance to offer up a lot of different bests and worsts over the years.

This time of year is ripe for reflection.  We think back on the year that is winding down.  We start to ponder resolutions for the year standing in front of us.  Amidst all of this thoughtfulness I really like the idea of thinking back through the year and identifying what the highest and lowest points were, and thinking about how they might influence me in the future.  I also really like the idea of sharing these identified moments with a group of close friends.  Not only does that degree of transparency (when the answers are candid and honest, of course) help us to understand one another better at the current moment, but the accumulation of answers over years helps us to see with more clarity the paths that have been traveled by our friends.

I don’t know who I might share my best and worst with this year.  (GAP already knows, obviously.)  I realize that traditions like these typically aren’t born on purpose.  Further, I suspect that they carry more significance when they evolve organically.  Mostly, though, I like the idea that 30 years from now I might have a group of friends who have been keeping track of each other’s highs and lows for a handful of decades.

2 Responses to “Best and Worst”

  1. Lindsey Says:

    What a fabulous tradition. My parents have likewise been celebrating with the same group of friends for several decades. Their custom is to write down “bets” or theories about the year ahead – they’ve covered Oscars and presidential elections and everything in between. xo

  2. BigLittleWolf Says:

    It is an intriguing tradition. Not one I would’ve thought of. I generally prefer a quiet new year’s; I’ve spent most in my life alone, with a bit of introspection, and generally quite content welcoming the year in that fashion.

    Naturally, there were some years with kids present… and worrying over their shenanigans. This year, no doubt the same, but with a friend by my side with whom to share a glass of something sweet, and the pleasure of each others’ company.