Matt Harrington: For the sake of old times
The familiar New Year's anthem, "Auld Lang Syne" was originally a Scottish poem written by Robert Burns in 1788. The title may be translated into English as "old long since", "days gone by" or "old times." Consequently, "For auld lang syne," as it appears in the celebratory song can loosely be translated as "for the sake of old times."
For me, December is a whirlwind month, which includes my birthday in the beginning of the month and mixers, parties, shopping and other elements of the holidays throughout the remainder of the month, topping it all off with New Year's Eve.
It also represents the final push. From an organizational perspective, December, the final month of the year, is about getting the last goals, objectives, and initiatives in before the ball drops (literally and figuratively). For us at the chamber it's also about how do we hit the ground running in January, especially as we have traditionally done our big annual dinner and meeting in January. I can tell you, mentally, we're already into March and May 2018 (events, visitors guide, membership programming, etc.) as this job requires you to think 3-4 months ahead constantly.
Make no mistake about it; I drive it to the bitter end (and I'm guessing so do some of you). Some may see that as missing the big picture of the holiday season. I assure you, one can merely look at my Facebook feed - I've been to enough parties, celebrations and holiday events this December to make Buddy the Elf squeamish.
In addition to the celebratory tone of the month, I truly find my excitement in the next adventure. Part of the thrill is to accomplish the goals and cross the finish line all before Ryan Seacrest graces our presence with his fine head of hair and on-point-New-Year's-Eve-attire to bring us into the next adventure of a new year. It is in that closure of one thing and the planning of a new thing - that sweet middle spot between Christmas and New Year's -- you'll see me most with a Grinch-like grin, knowing what could be accomplished has been and what could be planned is set. It's nirvana.
Perhaps this is a column for the over achievers, type A personalities, and just-get-it-done people. If so, know you are in good company.
It is within that sweet spot, with that Grinch-like grin, that I'm actually feeling, "for the sake of old times." As the 2018 plan has been set as much as possible, as the staff and board of my organization are hopefully at home enjoying the many fruits of their labors this past year, I'm wishing them and everyone around me, for the sake of old times have a happy, blessed and joyous time of year.
We type A-ers don't celebrate our wins enough. We just keep moving sometimes never really pausing to appreciate the wins, the victories, the hard fought battles. We need to pause. We need to appreciate and recharge our type A tank!
Each year comes with a slew of challenges and you met them. You are still here, standing (or sitting), hopefully with the love of your family, a drink in hand, and a ham dinner with all the fixings on the way. You made it. We made it! And, for the sake of old times - that's just swell.
Matt Harrington is executive director of the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce.
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