Happy New Year! あけましておめでとうございます!

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Happy New Year!

Every year I write and snail mail my Christmas letter in Japanese and English to our long time friends and families around the world. I started doing it when we moved from Japan to Canada in 1990. So, it is a 30 year tradition now. At first, I was writing to my aunts and uncles how we were doing in Canada, and showing how much my babies have grown. Then, as my children grew up….to grown-ups….to have started their own family…..to making me a grandma…..now with 5 little ones in total and one more on the way….my personal letter became more and more like a newsletter of the family centered around me. Nowadays, what happens every year is that my children send their annual family snap shots to me, and I just organize and lay them out in the letter. Naturally, most of the photos end up to be looking joyous and fun.

However, just because the photos are looking joyous, it doesn’t mean my life is filled with fun. Happy photos seem to give happy impressions. I received feedback from some friends saying something like “your life is always full of happy, interesting, extraordinary, and fantastic things. You must never get bored…”or “you are always surrounded by a large family, your life is full of love and happiness…” or “I am so envious….” or “my life and your life are completely opposite like night and day”…… hummmmm……..I moan. I say to myself “that’s not right….” and wonder if including photos is even a good thing to do…..

Of course, I am grateful of my life. I do have a happy life. I have a warm-hearted loving husband and we get along. We are not rich, but not poor. If we don’t indulge ourselves with luxuries we can have a comfortable life. The small children 30 years ago have grown to have their own careers and families, and thankfully they are all reasonably happy. But, ….my moaning continues…. Just like everybody’s life, my life is not perfect. There are days I feel so depressed and find myself hiding in a room not wanting to interact with anybody. I don’t want my letters to be like some postings on Facebook showing off one’s success or meals and loudly proclaiming how wonderful their lives are. It’s a serious problem for me if my letter makes somebody feel that way…..

The first day of the brand new year started with my disappointing “senior moment.” When I was making the traditional rice cakes, I forgot to add water to rice, and of course, the rice burned….. OMG….would this stupidity symbolize my new year? I pray it would not.

My Zen meditation teacher at his Dharma Talk this morning started his talk with the words “Your life is perfect.”

What? When I was just thinking my life was not perfect…..?

“All you have is now.” He said.

Of course, our lives might be a consequence of our choices, or a consequence of some external pressures. However, as he says, we can only deal with “now”. This moment is the only moment we can make difference.

Then, he said. “Let’s lift up this moment to the highest, to be the best moment you can ever have.”

Yes! I thought. That’s what I needed to hear! I should not worry about what happens in the future…..how series of moment to moment could end up bringing somebody some unpleasantness…it’s probably something I need not worry about….

My thoughts of the New Year of 2021.











Author: Haruyo Abramson

I'm a musician, mom, and grandma, living in BC, Canada with my husband and three dogs.

One thought on “Happy New Year! あけましておめでとうございます!

  1. Thank you,dear Haruyo. Your Zen teacher is very wise and so are you to pass them on. Much love. Marlena



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