The day before the old year ended, I finished out a journal. I have been journaling since high school, and it always feels literally like the end of a chapter when I finish out a book--they are filled with poems, sketches, essays, the flotsam and mental jetsam of an overactive mind.
By the time I finish, the book is worn, pages are dog eared and stained, crunchy with use. Some of the ink may have run, the pencil may have smudged. I never plan when they should end. I just run out of pages. And then I must select a new book. It's exciting to crack it open and smooth the pages, all empty and waiting. I always pick a special pen to start a journal.
And so, this new year and a new journal begin. Of late, its not as big a deal, because after misplacing one journal, and leaving another in a different state, I have taken to having overlapping journals, which will drive some doctoral student nuts if I ever become famous, but since that is so entirely unlikely, I don't worry about it.
I do like to read through an old journal as an end of year ritual. I just randomly flip through a book. I try to guess the year. I like touching base with where I have been. Last year, before my daughter went off to Germany by herself (well, without a family member--she was part of a horde of teens) I reread my old travel journal from when I bummed about Europe one summer over two decades ago. Very little of my core has shifted, even as gravity takes its toll on the shell.
My other big ritual for the turn of the year is to pull out a tarot deck. I find them endlessly interesting for the free associations they pull out of cobwebby corners in my head. This year, I kept gettingthe World. Hmmmm.
Oh, and I take a big ol hot bath. Wash away the old, spoil myself for the new.
Here's to rituals. And newness.