With a New Year dawning, I have some thoughts.
As children, we don’t stay up late enough to see the beginning of the new year. We don’t make resolutions. We don’t need to lose weight or quit smoking or quit the job we hate. It’s just the beginning of a time when we will turn six or twelve and that’s about it.
As teenagers, it might be the first time we drink too much or kiss the boy or girl we never thought we would have the opportunity to kiss and we fall to sleep with dreams of the future.
I worked every New Year’s Eve for about thirty years once I hit my twenties. It was the worst and most profitable day of the year, paradoxically. I began each year in parts of four decades exhausted, with no reflections upon the future beyond how long we could drink at the bar and wondering if I would get up before sunset.
There are only about a hundred generations since the time of Christ or however we perceive that story. And I don’t think we’ve changed that much. That reading Shakespeare can resonate five hundred years later, tells me that. We reflect upon our past, we assess our present, and we aspire to a future.
I don’t think I have ever made a New Year’s resolution. And I never really kept one, if I did. I am not making one this year. Because if something isn’t integral to my happiness in mid-December, it will be no more important in mid-January. Calendars shouldn’t be monthly pages. They should mark our time in hours and days because that is where we live. We never lay our heads on our pillows and think, that was a great month. We lay down thinking that was a great day. Or sit in our most comfortable chairs and think that was a tough hour.
Three-hundred and sixty-six days from now (I think it’s a leap year), I don’t know if I will feel like it’s been a good year or a bad year. It will likely be some combination of both. With the good colours and the bad colours in a complicated painting. With the good songs and the bad songs in a radio playlist. With the filet mignon and the under-cooked potatoes on our dinner plates.
But it is a new year. With all that it may entail. Falling in and out of love. New lives to be welcomed and anticipated, and old lives to be remembered and missed.
The year is just a number. Our age is just a number. Our lives are contained within our days. And while our years contain our days, it’s within the days that we live. Turning out the light each night is more important than turning the calendar page.
And with that, Happy New Year, friends. But more than that, Happy Days, Friends.