A couple of nights ago the big ball descended in NYC and baby new year took her first steps while the whole world celebrated their time zone’s turn to shout, HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Even though 11:59PM to 12:00AM on January 1st is just as arbitrary a time to begin a new phase in your life as 7:53AM to 7:54AM on March 5th, the changing of a new year symbolizes a new chance, a fresh start, and a renewed sense of possibility. We humans love this. Meanwhile, the elephants and manatees and tigers of the world (my three favorites) don’t give it any thought. While we tend to mark our time by dates and birthdays and how many minutes are left before the morning alarm goes off, the happier mammals measure their time a little differently.
I usually love New Years Eve. The new year’s resolutions in conjunction with all the weight loss, home organization, and online dating commercials tend to push people to try something new and good for themselves. Really, I love anything that gets us out from behind our computer screens and into a crowd of people whose hearts beat at the same pace for the same reason. I love weddings. I love concerts. I love [peaceful] rallies. I think we love our new year’s celebrations because we share that same sense of hope for the new year and nostalgia over the past year with good company. I do enjoy reflecting over a past year on both a global and personal level…
2010 Globally: Haiti Earthquake. New Orleans Saints win the Superbowl. A volcano cloud shut down European airlines for a little longer than I ever thought possible. BP Oil Spill. Soccer World Cup. Chilean Miners. Wikileaks.
2010 Personally: …I just can’t believe how much things have changed in a year. I’ll just leave it at that for right now.
The point is its done. That door is closed. 2010 was ____, and now its 2011. Welcome to life.
I know 2011 is going to be a big year for me on a personal scale. Next year this time, I will have a master’s degree, my baby sister will be married, I will have some sort of full time job and probably some new co-workers that I love. I will likely have a new apartment in a new city. Even though I don’t know where I’ll be, I predict that I will love that apartment and city. And I predict that I’ll finally own a little orange kitten named Velveeta.
Even though the idea of completing a practicum, preparing for three conferences, applying for jobs, finding and moving into a new apartment, and finishing up my master’s degree by May 6 – four months from Thursday – seems overwhelming, I believe all these things will be true. And I feel some comfort from somewhere telling me I can handle everything. Life just moves us forward. Most of the time, I don’t think we have as much control over everything as we think we do. This is why I love New Year’s Resolutions, though, because we can focus on one little thing that we can change.
Now, I think the concept of a new year’s resolution can stir up all kinds of goals and ideas and emotions. With all our good intentions for the new year, I fear its really easy to take this time of the year and turn our reflections inward and then measure our successes and failures against those around us. Don’t do that. For the first time I’m realizing that pushing someone into all this newness when we’re all in different phases of different issues isn’t necessarily the best thing ever. All I’m trying to say is, its just another day. Its just another year. When you’re making a resolution, do something for you. Do something you want to do. And don’t beat yourself up if you fail in the first week. You have the whole year to get it right.
For me, I’m resolving to write something for myself every week. This may mean I work on a long term substantial project or that I crank out one blog post a week. I’m not sure yet. I’m doing this because even though I love writing, I find myself writing less when I’m busy or stressed. Yet, I find myself happier when I’m writing. So here’s to more creative pieces, more short stories, more blogposts, and more letters to dear friends.
Going back to my favorite mammals and the way they measure time… that’s pretty unrelated to the point I’m making. I just wanted to draw attention to the fact that animals are not aware that today is any different because you signed your name a little slower and crossed out 2010 two times before you managed to write 2011. And if the manatees don’t care, you shouldn’t, either.