The Magical Myth of the New Year

01 Jan

It is January 1st.

We make a rather big deal about this calendar date being the start of the New Year.

But is it?

There seems to be so many different “New Years.” In 2013, there’s Chinese New Year (Feb 10), UK Tax Year (Apr 6), business fiscal years (often June, July, or Sept), the Academic Year (Aug or Sept depending on location), Rosh Hashanah (Sept 4), US Gov’t Fiscal Year (Oct 1), the Church year (beginning of Advent; Dec 1)…and I’m sure if we look hard enough we could fill in the remaining months (Mar, May, & Nov) with New Years of their own as well.

Given the degree of relativism involved, it’s interesting to me that we make such a big deal out of the changing of the Gregorian calendar from one year to the next. New Year’s Day (by which I mean January 1st) has taken on almost magical properties of creating a clean slate and opening the door to new opportunities (often diets and other resolutions).

I write in a journal fairly regularly, and I have only a few blank pages left in my current book. Somewhat sickeningly over the last few days, I found myself hoping that I would write just enough to fill out the remaining pages, so that come “the” New Year, I could begin afresh with a new journal.

It didn’t happen, and I still find myself with a dozen or so pages unfilled. Not being one to waste paper, I will have to endure the inelegance of having a single journal which contains thoughts from both 2012 and 2013. Tragedy!

Truth be told, there is nothing magical about this date. We sometimes hold out on a course of action until the New Year, somehow believing that it will be more appropriate to start a good habit on Jan 1st rather than right away. Let’s face it: relatively few people start the New Year in a state of mind or body suitable to embark on a new venture of health and happiness. They’re usually sleeping off the party from the night before.

Yet the magical myth of the New Year remains.

How shall I make my beginning into this brand new chronological category? Maybe I’ll go hurry up and scribble all over my remaining journal pages, just so that I can open up that nice, new book and begin a fresh recording of my 2013 reflections.

Or maybe I’ll just go back to sleep, and wait until Feb 10, Apr 6, or even Dec 1 in order to embark on something new. I can experience the “magic” all year long!

Happy New Year!

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Posted by on January 1, 2013 in Life


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