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Articles / Looking to a New Year

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Looking to a New Year

Published January 3, 2024

The age-old conflict between our personal lives and the world’s condition

Pienza. Photo: Getty Images

New Year’s Eve, after midnight, as I was literally prancing around the main Piazza of Pienza — a Tuscan hilltop town — with 1000 other like-minded and mostly drunk people in front of a ten-foot-high roaring bonfire, I was of two minds.

Photo: Mark Bittman

I felt so lucky: Here I was, in a beautiful and unusual place, having had a great dinner with my partner and two good friends, everyone in a good mood and everyone fundamentally happy and healthy and, as my father used to say, “cahmfahtabul.” Life was far from ideal and I have suffered some awful losses personally, but I have my health and not an inordinate amount to worry about.