From Thanksgiving to Christmas to the beginning of a new year, everyone loves the holiday season. I especially love this time of year because it’s when I get to relax and enjoy with my large (and constantly increasing) family. But there's one part of this time of year that is different for me than for most people. When the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, that is not the beginning of my new year.
My brother and I have a recurring joke that our time in the campo is our New Years vacation. Instead of a big ball dropping to christen the New Year with confetti and champagne, the descent of an airplane from the Dominican Republic to Miami is our celebration. The work done in a week or a month or an entire summer is what rejuvenates us to take on another year on this great big Earth.
Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the partying all night and great times that December 31st has to offer, but shouldn’t New Years have a greater meaning? For me, New Years is a time to reflect on the person you’ve been for the past 365 days. You look back on all the decisions you’ve made, both good and bad, and use them as inspiration for the year to come. That kind of reflection doesn’t come while dancing the night away amongst your friends.
When I am working in the campo, my mind is free. All my worries and responsibilities are stateside. I am allowed to give myself completely to the community I’ve come to work alongside. And when the day is done and I’m laying in my cot, I can truly reflect on the type of life I want to continue living when I get back home.
With every New Year comes a resolution. While most people aim for resolutions that better only themselves, I strive each year to come up with a resolution that is going to better others. Last year, the goal was to make a new person laugh everyday. I won’t lie to you, some days went without laughs, but I kept it through to the end. This year’s resolution is to love unconditionally. No matter who you come across, give everyone the same love as you would give your Abuela.
So in the chance that I don’t see you in the campo this summer, take the time this holiday season and examine your year. What have you done to help others? What have you done to help yourself? How have you become a better you? Ask yourselves these questions and use them to fuel your year ahead. And when you take that first step into 2016, do it with others in mind.
May your champagne flutes never go empty, may the music never stop, and may the party never end. I wish you all a happy holiday season, and come summer time a happy New Year.