Just another new year....
It's 2010. The start of a another year. Big deal.
No, I don't mean to be this cynical with the new year only five days old, but it all seems so arbitrary to me. Several thousand years ago, some person decided to mark the start of a year by taking into account the position of the stars in the night sky. Hey, the Earth revolves around the sun in one huge circular orbit...there is no start or end. Someone long dead just decided that one position is the start, and that's about it. Perhaps the pattern of stars in the night sky coincided to one happy moment for this person...perhaps a good harvest, a victorious battle, then he or she sought to commemorate that event by remembering the exact pattern of stars and marking it as the start of the "year".
A new year is really more of a symbolic gesture than anything else. We all need the assurance that every twelve months, we can start anew, start fresh with a slate wiped clean, forgetting all the bad things that happened to us the past 365 days worth forgetting about. Something akin to spring-cleaning for the soul...of course, it isn't spring yet, and if you leave in the tropics as I do, there isn't any spring at all.
Billions of us make resolutions we have no intention of keeping, as if the belief that making the resolution is enough to get us off the hook, much like those sinners who believe that the mere effort of showing up in Sunday mass is enough to atone for their sins, or those weight-challenged people who keep buying every new exercise equipment offered for sale on the shopping channel, but never actually use them.
We all want to change for the better, but in reality so few of us actually do. Not for lack of desire mind you, it's just that our current situations often leave us no option but to maintain the status quo. It's sad but true, but such is the lot of most of us caught in the rat race of life. Dramatic change often requires dramatic effort, and not all of us are willing or able to exert it.
It's ironic if you think about it. Most of us are resistant to change, yet we yearn for it so much at times. Resist or yearn it, it doesn't really matter for in the long run, change is the only thing constant. We go about our lives existing in our comfort zones, either liking things the way they are, or not. One way or the other, we still get stuck in our comfort zones while time and tide passes. Before we know it, we're left by the wayside, trapped by our own thinking, while life has passed us by.
The funny thing about being stuck in your own head is that you always think that you're doing the right thing, or at least something is the right thing to do at a certain time. Right decisions may or may not get you somewhere in life, but wrong decisions almost always don't. The worst part is we only realize it when it's too late. I mean, no one in his right mind will do something consciously aware of what he or she is doing is wrong. It is always in hindsight, after we see the consequences of our actions, that we learn whether we did the wrong or right things.
Perhaps that is why we always celebrate New Year's Day. We all need to be reassured somehow that no matter how much we screw things up, we can always look forward to a new beginning, a pristine slate, every January first.
I guess that's not such a bad thing, isn't it?
So here's to another year of doing what we think is right and screwing up nonetheless.
Life's a trip, not a destination, so we might as well enjoy the ride.
Happy New Year.