Words of Wisdom – The New York Times


There’s such fanfare about the end of the year and the beginning of a new one, but the difference is only a day. I find myself thinking about this a lot, how we invest the turning-over of a new year with such meaning, but it’s really just a Sunday into Monday, a transition we don’t dignify with ceremony the other 51 weeks. This week, it’s momentous. This week, we make a fuss.

What sort of fuss are you making? A party, a gathering, a favorite meal for dinner? Maybe in bed by 10 with a good book, which is to say no fuss at all, thank you very much?

You might, regardless of your plans, ask some people about the best advice they have received this year. People love giving advice, and when they’re sitting on something they think is especially effective, they’re excited to share it. Advice given on New Year’s takes on the air of a benediction, a strong first sentence with which to begin a new chapter.

I asked a friend for the best advice she’d received and she told me to “Buy the dip,” to which I densely asked if she was referring to condiments or smokeless tobacco. She rolled her eyes then offered something more my speed: “‘No’ is a complete sentence,” which I have heard before, but it’s a solid maxim I was glad to hear again.

The advice below comes from readers of The Morning. Hopefully there’s something in here you can use, a motto with which to start the new year.

Keep a running list of the nicest things anyone has ever said to or about you. It’s a lifesaver on days when the world is getting the best of you. — Dave Clarke, Wauwatosa, Wis.

If everyone is driving you crazy, then the feeling is probably mutual. — Bill Chappell, Atlanta

Life is too short not to tell the people you love that you love them. — Abby Thomas, New Canaan, Conn.

We are all juggling so many balls. Differentiate between glass balls and rubber balls — and don’t be afraid to drop the rubber balls. — Kathryn Cunningham, Carrboro, N.C.

Wait as long as possible to get your kids a phone. — Laura LaGrone, Asheville, N.C.

Instead of calling someone out, call them in: Invite them into a judgment-free conversation with the intention of promoting understanding. — Rita Maniscalco, Huntington, N.Y.

Every time you receive a box containing something you bought online, fill it with items to donate. — Christina Poynter, Dimondale, Mich.

Before doing something, ask yourself, “Is this something that someone who loves themselves would do?” — Cathy de la Cruz, Brooklyn, N.Y.

You’re 73 years old — can you stop with the one-man shows? — Michael Kearns, Los Angeles

Nothing good is happening on your phone past 8 p.m. — Miriam Lichtenberg, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Feel what your body is saying and stop trying to think your way through your feelings. — Tobey Crockett, Paso Robles, Calif.

Drive slower: It’s safer, less stressful and gives you time to look around. — Rick Juliusson, Cowichan Station, British Columbia

Breathe in, thinking, “I listen for the silence.” Breathe out: “I am not the hero of every story.” Breathe in: “I will not get free alone.” Out: “I am worthy of belonging.” — Richard Ashford, Chevy Chase, Md.

Wear a watch. This way I pick up my phone half as often. How many times do you pick up yours to check the time and get sidetracked by 30 minutes of doomscrolling? — Jen MacNeil Danenberg, Newtown, Conn.

There are many things I can’t control, but I can control how I do or don’t respond. I can’t control others’ thoughts of me. — Chloe Stuck, Rolla, Mo.

Be proactive with your health by getting tests and establishing baselines. — Mary Anderson, Bend, Ore.

Be a fountain, not a drain. — Christine Clemens, Lowville, N.Y.

Just book the trip. — Emiley Shenk, Toledo, Ohio

A boundary is something you set that requires nothing of the other person. From Dr. Becky Kennedy on the “Armchair Expert” podcast. — Anna Politiski, New York, N.Y.

Walk at least a little way down into the Grand Canyon; don’t just stay up on the rim. — Stephen Edgerton, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Retire from your job, not from life. — Margaret Johnson, Dunedin, Fla.

  • Russian missiles and drones struck factories, hospitals and schools across Ukraine, killing at least 30 people. Officials said it was one of the largest air assaults of the war.

  • Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio, a Republican, vetoed a bill that would have banned minors from getting transgender medical care.

  • The Supreme Court, wary of either removing Donald Trump from the ballot or giving him a boost, may seek a narrow path that keeps Trump in the race while skirting questions of insurrection, Adam Liptak writes.

  • Israel’s military had no plan for a large-scale Hamas attack, a Times investigation found. Troops were so poorly organized on Oct. 7 that they relied on group chats and social media to figure out where to go.

  • Michael Cohen, the former fixer for Donald Trump, admitted that a recent court filing included fake legal citations because he used Google’s A.I. bot for research.

📺 Tournament of Roses (Monday): As a California native, I associate New Year’s Day less with frost and snow than with the flowers of the Rose Parade in Pasadena. Sure, giant balloons are nice. But have you seen floats filled with flaming volcanoes, the lava made from red-orange perennials? ABC, NBC and Peacock will air the 135th annual parade. ESPN will follow with the Rose Bowl.

📚 The Storm We Made (Tuesday): January may find you dry, blue and still vacuuming pine needles from the carpet. A favorite way to inject excitement into that postholiday apathy? Espionage. Vanessa Chan’s historical fiction debut, set in the 1930s and ’40s, centers on a Malayan mother of three. Seduced by the promise of an Asia for Asians, she sees that promise break during the Japanese occupation.

You may have finger foods covered for your New Year’s Eve festivities (I’m thinking pigs in a blanket and bacon-wrapped dates, specifically), but perhaps you’re still in need of something scoopable and spreadable. This creamy feta dip is ready to ring in a new year. A block of feta cheese, normally crumbly and coarse, becomes smooth, light and airy when whirled, ideally day of, in a food processor with a little oil and cream cheese. Just pull out some pita, and you’re ready to party.

The hunt: After an unexpected breakup, a college professor explored co-ops in the Bronx under $200,000. Which one did he choose? Play our game.

A high-seas debacle: Life at Sea, a three-year cruise around the world, was supposed to be a bucket-list experience. If only its planners could find a ship.

Hiding celebrities: John Terzian is a rarity — a club owner that famous people trust.

A happy new year: Manage stress and find meaning in 2024.

Bedtimes: Families are counting down to New Year’s hours before midnight.

Patrilineal tradition: Some American parents are giving their children a last name other than the father’s.

Stocking your bar for New Year’s Eve? Don’t overlook vodka. When Wirecutter’s kitchen experts taste-tested vodkas earlier this year, we were surprised by how much we enjoyed it. Among our favorite bottles, we found quite a variety of flavors — including citrusy, refreshing and even downright briny. Any of our picks would be a great, inexpensive foundation for tomorrow’s cocktails. If something without booze sounds better, take a peek at our favorite nonalcoholic drinks. — Marguerite Preston

Texas vs. Washington, College Football Playoff: The eyes of the sports world will be on the evening’s first playoff matchup, Michigan vs. Alabama at 5 p.m. But those teams get enough attention. Instead, let’s talk about Texas, a historical football power that fell off the radar over a decade ago. Head coach Steve Sarkisian has revitalized the Longhorns, bringing them to their first-ever playoff. Texas’ greatest strength is its defensive line, anchored by the all-American tackle T’Vondre Sweat. But that defense will have to deal with Washington’s elite offense, which has the nation’s leading passer in Michael Penix Jr., and the third-leading receiver in Rome Odunze. Monday at 8:45 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

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