I don’t know whether it’s cliché or a snippet out of a self-help seminar welcome packet, but lately every day feels like a celebration.

The way I see it, celebration is a comparison of where you’ve been to where you are, and if you chop up your time like just right, I reckon most of us could celebrate daily. Now, I won’t deny this doesn’t always work, and I’ve had my fill of times too dark for jubilation. I guess we’ve got to search for other sources in times of trouble – maybe to the persistence of tradition in spite of everything. Maybe to a hope for better luck next time, and brighter tomorrows. I think unless you’ve got at least that, you’re done for.

Anyway when I look at where I am, I’m satisfied. I’m on my third year in New Zealand and I can tell you objectively, there’s good in this place.

I had been to the hardware store where I picked up a two metre dowel and some sandpaper to finish off a little furniture work, and as I walked along toward Mount Victoria a plastic bag blew into my path and I dipped the dowel to intersect with the bag and I picked it up against the wind and wadded it in my hand. A few steps later I saw a greasy brown bag from the bakery where they sell yesterday’s pies cheap, and I picked it up too. When I passed the bin I deposited both without breaking stride and continued up the hill and back down the other side, then up the next and back home. It occurred to me this is celebration. This is a place I love. My home. And this is how I give thanks.

The new year is its own celebration and it’s one of our family’s favourites. I’ve never been any good at resolutions but I do alright with reflections, so I use the new year as a marker to remind me to look back. When I get up from a table at the pub I always glance to make sure I didn’t leave anything behind, and that’s save a few dollars and phones and notebooks over the years. It’s the same when I flip the calendar, and this year’s look back will be a cracker, I’ll tell you. Maybe I’m getting older and easier to satisfy – a cheerful spot to sit does me right, and there’s a wealth of such places around these parts, and I’m finally feeling settled in. That’s enough. And maybe that’s cause to celebrate as much as anything else: when I look back, I’ve come as far as I ever imagined I could.

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Brian Sorrell has worked as a cook, typist, computer programmer, woodworker, bicycle repairman, and university lecturer, all of which inadequately prepared him for his current full-time role as Dad. In February 2012, the family packed up their house in California and relocated to Auckland, where he now specialises in chasing his always-on-the-run son, drinking coffee, and recording his adventures at Dadding Full Time

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