Happy New Year to all of you! It’s 2013. Who would have thought we would make it this far? Certainly not the Mayans. But it’s 2013 only in the modern Christian calendar. To the Jews, it’s 5773, to the Hindus, it’s 2069 while in the Muslim Calendar, it’s 1434. And the date the year flips over for other cultures is not January 1st. It is after all, just an arbitrary number that changes on some arbitrary date. What makes the New Year a big deal? When we used to write dates on pieces of paper and checks, accidentally writing the prior year was something that helped make the year changeover a problem. Now, computers fix that stuff for us, even Y2K. We tend to forget that a new year means that it has been 365 days since the earth was in the same spot as today relative to the sun. Our planet has traveled 584,600,600 miles and we are right back where we started 8,760 hours later. Our planet is moving around the sun at 66,671 miles/hour! The New Year is like a reset button as we repeat the seasons so it makes sense that we track it. It would probably make more sense to celebrate the New Year at one of the season changeovers.
Many of us find ourselves saying that we can’t believe the year has gone by, but that’s what happens with life. Days turn into months turn into years. The New Year is like a collective birthday that we revel in together. Celebrating the New Year can be somewhat of a pain though. I used to get excited about celebrating it and would try to plan ahead but would often end up deciding what to do at the last minute. When you go to a public party, you often end up getting ripped off on drinks and food because partying is what we’re supposed to do and many of us feel pressured to have a good time (which sounds odd.) On December 31, 2007, I was in India and did absolutely nothing but go to sleep. At the other extreme, many New Year celebrations of the past were memorable, especially the ones celebrated with a significant other or the ones in which friends got extremely drunk and I had to take care of them. Of course, I was never the one that needed to be taken care of.
Celebrating holidays like the New Year sometimes require work and planning and can be a pain but doing so forces us to take time out from work and errands to appreciate what we have. New Year’s celebrations break up the continuum of life. A new year is like a clean sheet of paper for us to do with as we please while we forget the negatives of the past. Who cares if the date for the New Year is based on the Roman God Janus who is probably no longer worshipped? Let’s party it up, safely, and make some memories. That is what is most valuable in our lives anway.