I am superstitious about a number of strange things. I believe that bad things will happen if I hear “Black” by Pearl Jam (I finally smartened up and took it off my iPod, hoping to foil the karmic gods of grunge music). I hesitate when the 28th of each month rolls around … and breathe a sigh of relief when I make it through unscathed. And when it comes to holiday superstitions, I believe that your New Year’s Eve will be reflective of the year to come.

So evidently my heat broke in the middle of the night. My last apartment had two operating temperatures – 50 and 95. It was always super hot unless it was windy, in which case the draft through the windows would knock it down to “really freaking cold.” Needless to say, I was super excited to live in an apartment with central heat and a thermostat … until the furnace decided to break. And in the grand scheme of how things work in NYC apartments, my landlord (who speaks Albanian) sent in a “friend” who lives in my building (and speaks Yugoslavian) to fix the heat. It’s nearly 3 p.m. and I still don’t have working heat. I’m not entirely sure if or when I will.

The first question of superstitions is this: does that one about New Year’s Eve apply to the whole day or just the romantic-at midnight part of it? In other words, is my 2010 already doomed or is there still time to salvage it?

Regardless, it brought something else to the front of my mind about resolutions. Year after year, I make a list of generic resolutions – often so many that it would be impossible to actually remember them, let alone make them happen. So this year, I am trying something different.

In 2010:
I am going to learn to take things as they come and try not to let details overwhelm me or stress me out.
I am going to focus on what is good and positive in my life, rather than thinking about what is missing or what would theoretically make it better.
I am going to recognize my own accomplishments for what they are, instead of thinking that I should always be doing more or better than I am.
I am going to set realistic goals for my own success – and realize that making it halfway there isn’t a total loss or failure.

And most importantly, I am going to work harder on being present. I have a tendency to live my life either judging in retrospect or looking ahead without a plan. And much like today, I wonder how my life passes me by, where the year has gone.

I remember this day last year like it was yesterday. I remember thinking about everything that wasn’t what it supposed to be, yet being too scared to move forward. I spent the next months looking back, rather than focusing on what was happening in real time, and repeated my mistakes. And if I wasn’t looking back at something and trying to figure out what could have been different, I was blindly looking ahead – escapism – for the next great thing to happen.

Is this the perfect New Year’s Eve? Not so much so far. But you know what, it could definitely be worse. Here comes the reality check: if I had heat yesterday, hopefully I should be able to have heat again. And while it could end up being a completely wicked inconvenience, it’s not the end of the world.

I have a roof over my head. (And a pretty awesome place to live, when there is heat …)

I have a job that allows me to help people who face much bigger challenges than I do and helps keep my pity parties in check.

I have great friends and a wonderful family who remind me what love really means.

And throughout all the mess of this day, someone is still managing to make me smile.

So when the clock strikes twelve, whether it was a good New Year’s Eve or a not so good one, superstition be damned. I am going to have a good 2010.

“Wonder whose arms will hold you good and tight
When it’s exactly twelve o’clock that night
Welcoming in the New Year, New Year’s Eve
Maybe I’m crazy to suppose I’d ever be the one you chose
Out of the thousand invitations you receive
And though I know I’ll never stand a chance
Here comes the jackpot question in advance
What are you doin’ New Year’s, New Year’s Eve?”

– “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve”