It’s true that good health, beautiful surroundings and caring companions should make for a wonderful wish. Yet how many people do you know who more or less have these things and yet aren’t particularly happy? My sister works in the travel industry and she assures me that people are capable of being absolutely miserable while surrounded by loved ones in paradise. Meanwhile others manage a fair amount of joy stuck in an airport with strangers in the middle of a blizzard.
Joy is in the brain, no doubt about it. True wishes for a happy new year ought to be less about good fortune in the times ahead and more about wishes for the wisdom to enjoy whatever does happen, and about the good sense to learn from the things that don’t go well. I’d like to point this out to my well wishers, but it seems ungrateful to correct people when they are trying to be nice. So I smile instead, and wish them a happy new year back.
Just like I now wish a happy new year to you. The only difference is that you know what it is that I’m secretly wishing for you.