Every New Year's Eve, friends, family, and drunk acquaintances gather around and count down the tickings of the clock together to celebrate the passing of time. And when the clock hits midnight, we may kiss, and we may cry, but mostly we look ahead to a new year full of new possibilities. Resolutions are made; some resolve to be kinder, some resolve to be bolder, and everybody joins a gym. New Year celebrations are full of hope and promise, and we treat the strike of midnight as a tabula rasa, reflecting on the year that has past, right before we wipe the slate clean, making way for a fresh start.
The problem with New Year's is, that, for all literal purposes, it's basically just an arbitrary marker that time has gone by. Some Gregorian guy decided that we had to find a way to count time, employed science & math, and made the year begin on a random day. It probably had something to do with crops or religion too, but this meaning has clearly withered in time.
On New Year's Eve 2007, I was hopeful to try to wash away an extremely rough year. There was no one particular reason that it had been rough, just a bunch of little things all piled together. I was half way through my senior year of college and had just found out I would not be graduating on time with my friends and I would have to come back for an extra year. I had falling outs with two of my closest friends. My dad was sick and in the hospital for a few weeks, and my mom hadn't dealt with that well. On top of all that I was going through my first big break up. It generally felt like 2007 was the year that every thing was falling apart. So understandably I was very excited for a new year. But when the new year came, much to my dismay, 2007 did not just wash away. While thing gradually did get better, on January 1st my problems were still there, still present, and still things I had to deal with. I was going to have to see my ex around campus, I was going to have to decided whether to forgive my friends, and I was going to have to work harder and stay an extra year if I wanted to finish college.
During this time I was lucky to have a very good friend, named Susie, who talked me through a lot of these things. We had been friends since high school, and also then were in college together. We were a source of support for each other, (her more for me that year, I'm sure me more for her some years) and I am lucky I had someone like her at that time. Around the spring of 2008, a tradition began. It began first as a celebration of finals month being over. On June 1st she texted me something to the effect of "Summer has begun! Happy new month! Here we go!" Eventfully this became our mantra; after a rough month, rough week, rough day we would count down and look forward.
"Happy new day!" The bad day is over, new one is coming. We can celebrate the future, without wiping away the past. Every day is a chance for hope. Every day is a chance for change. Not every day will be great, or even good, but every day is a chance. Don't wait for New Year's to celebrate. Celebrate the moments and the wins, big or small, as they come. Be present and grateful, and celebrate today.
Happy New Day!