I ask myself this every time the calendar page turns and a new year is upon us. What is it about the ending of one year and the beginning of another that inspires the psyche so strongly? At turns, it has us infinitely hopeful about what’s ahead and similarly convinced that whatever didn’t go our way the previous year is well and truly behind us – close the door, turn the page, we can move on from that negative space and refill it with all the certain goodness of a new year. And even if the previous year was a good one, this one is bound to be great.
At no other time of the year, have we all agreed to this same delusion. Perhaps on someone’s birthday, we might momentarily embrace the idea, but then it’s just for the birthday boy or girl. At New Years though, we can all claim it.
Intellectually we know there’s nothing inherently magic about a new year, but emotionally we’re willing to believe. It’s the same leap-of-faith thinking that has us embrace egg-toting bunnies at Easter and delightfully charming bearded men at Christmas.
I’m not knocking it, by the way. In fact, I’m looking for a way to claim this optimism at will, at any point in the year when I think a little reframing or reinvention might be in order. For example, by the end of the first quarter of last year, family health issues had taken hold. Even months later, when things started to improve, it was hard not to think, “Well, there goes 2016.” One transformative event seemed to color the whole year. If we could just hold on till 2017, we could have another run at it.
Based on the above, you might imagine that I’m not much for New Years resolutions. And you’d be right. I want to only make one. My resolution is to adopt the idea that I can choose any day – all the days if I want – to start again. Any day will do for me to say, “Tomorrow will be better. Here’s why and here’s how.”
You with me?