Sunday, January 01, 2012

Celebrating the New Year

I have a friend who's rather cynical about the celebration of the New Year.  "So what?  The earth revolved around the sun again.  Big deal."  Ok, I can see the logic.  It's something of an arbitrary holiday...and the corollary point that there are far more interesting date-based days (11-11-11!  12-12-12!!) to celebrate is well taken.  Objectively, I suppose it's not a big deal.

But my experience of the New Year is different.  Like so much of the minutia in my life, I've imbued the start of each year with meaning.  I don't think I set out to make the calendar-flip a meaningful time.  I've never been into resolutions and dramatic proclamations about life changes.  I think it may have come from my habits.  

The month-long gluttony of the holidays almost always sends me into a period of shedding.  I declutter...I donate...I clear out closets and find places for all the new things that inevitably come into my life from Christmas.  I wind up moving around more and eating less because a month of terribly indulgent treats make me feel sluggish and yucky.  And, every January, somewhere between the piles of Goodwill donations and the hours on the treadmill, my head clears out enough to think about where I've been and where I want to go...  

And so I find that in the middle of the holiday crush each between presents and family and shopping and friends and the swirl begins to rise to a fevered pitch...I start to look forward to the New Year.  It's not the ball dropping or the's that I know what's coming next:  the introspective lull of January.  The crazy, frenetic end of each year finally (sometimes painfully) yields to the quiet start of the next....and I crave it.  I look forward to the quiet and the head-space and the reflection and the clean closets and the time and energy to conceive new challenges.

You know how some people figure out their income tax withholding almost to the penny so that the government doesn't keep their money interest free during the year?  Yeah, I'm not one of those people.  I like the windfall of a refund.  I enjoy the sudden boon.  Maybe the New Year thing is the same way.  Some people may be able to really take time out to take stock of themselves and their lives every day, so they have no need for a designated moment to do it.  For me, it just doesn't work that way.  Life is too busy and too crazy for too much of the I use that mundane occasion of changing the calendar as my little life refund.

It's true, of course, that the windfall of time and presence of mind could come at any moment.  And, believe it or not, I've been known to take stock of my life on a random Tuesday for no apparent reason at all.  I appreciate all of those moments of reflection throughout the year.  The New Year just happens to be a consistent moment.  It's cyclical and I look forward to it.  

In fact, I celebrate it.

No comments: