Tonya Bina: Here’s to a better 2011 |

Tonya Bina: Here’s to a better 2011

Tonya Bina/ Off Beat
Grand County, Colo

I may be one of many who is relieved 2010 is over.

Disease emerged or progressed in two members of my immediate family, and I repeatedly experienced feelings of loss in more ways than one by financial hardship or otherwise.

Why did 2010 impact me so hard?

During a moment of pause before the year changed over, I turned to the Internet, and there I found an answer.

I decided to draw from Chinese astrology and blame the Year of the Tiger.

After all, the tiger can be a magnificent but ferocious beast. It’s unpredictable, fearless, and it thrives on challenges.

Looking back, my 2010 carried every negative trait of the tiger, such as being unyielding, aggressive and predatory.

I was its weak prey.

And I don’t think I was alone; 2010 was hard on a lot of people.

Unemployment, skyrocketing health care costs, coastal waters blackened from an oil spill, continuing war, a ruthless and disjointed election and political climate – it seemed a cloud of cynicism would shadow any bright idea or glimpse of hope.

Although the lunar new year on the Chinese calendar doesn’t advance until Feb. 3, I’m already looking forward to the fourth year in the Zodiac’s 12-year cycle – the 2011 “Year of the Rabbit.”

The Internet tells me it will be more peaceful and accepting. Rabbits signify luck, after all.

Mythology and fortune-telling aside, I can’t help but feel hopeful that 2011 will bring more of what the Chinese group as “fortune, health and wealth.”

So says Tai Long, a “rat” on the Zodiac and owner of the local Chinese restaurant Pearl Dragon, the new year “Will Be Better!”

Then again, any Chinese descendent might say the same, he said.

“Ask 100 out of 100 and every one will say the new year will be better,” Tai said.

Optimism reigns supreme for every new year in Chinese culture, when the entire nation devotes weeks to tradition and hope for the future.

Like Asians throughout the world, the Long family of Granby will spend time together feasting and celebrating the closure of one year and the advancement of another during their biggest holiday.

The year 4709 on the Lunar calendar – the Year of the Tiger – wasn’t a good one for Tai either, he said.

2010 brought the Long family hardship by deaths of three family members, plus business stress.

And Tai’s mother Kin Long, an ox on the zodiac, agreed the Year of the Tiger was “no good,” she said in native Cantonese interpreted by Tai.

I didn’t even have to ask Tai’s dad Kho, also an ox. Tai already knew what he would say:

“It was bad.”

Although Tai says his family is still mourning the departed, they are more than happy the year is passing.

But he cautioned me about blaming the year’s bad luck on the astrological Tiger. Astrology, he said, is to be viewed as “spiritual support.”

“We’re not going to blame 2010,” he said.

Instead, he blames the death of his grandparents on old age, financial hardship on the recession.

“But we look forward to a better year, that’s our mentality,” he said.

“We survived 2010, so there’s a big celebration on the new year coming. It doesn’t matter how bad/good the year, we are always hopeful for a better year. If you ask what we’re going to experience for the Year of the Rabbit, hopefully it will be better than last year.”

So, for it’s auspicious sake, my 2011 New Year’s attitude is aligning with Chinese culture.

I’m licking my tiger wounds and can only assume that my upcoming year will build positively upon the last, like ascending notches in bamboo.

Tai’s sister Soi plants “Lucky Bamboo” in embellished vases and sells them at the restaurant. One now sits on my desk in my office as a reminder of my positive and easygoing approach to all that’s in store for me in the Rabbit year of 2011.

This, my resolution of peace and happiness.

Until… 2012.

Now, we know what the Mayans said about that …

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