On the East Coast, the chain of obligation holds like a vice grip as the ball drops in Times Square and an indifferent stranger at the party asks, “So, what is your New Year’s Resolution?”
These words beg the question that a sin or omission has been committed in the past twelve months, years, or decades and is in need of repair; some self-inflicted psychic wound or social misdeed that must be atoned for at the stroke of midnight, lest one lose a slipper at the castle gate.
My family made its way to California to leave sin and omission behind. My great-great grandmother traveled here by covered wagon and my parents by station wagon, to build their lives away from old mores that stood in the way of happiness realized through divorce or interfaith marriage; my children traveled here by air to reinvent themselves as creative artists and social activists rather than plod well-worn paths in law or business. The only resolution made was to be resolute: never look back in guilt or sadness and be-ever present in the lives they chose.
Here in California, when the ball drops it’s time for bed and peaceful sleep long before a New Year dawns on Pacific Standard time.