New Year – What Is The Point?

Posted on Monday 1st January 2007 at 00:00
Well, it is now officially Monday 1st January 2007. A new week, a new month and of course a new year. This is traditionally the day on which we all sit down to contemplate what lies ahead for us over the next 12 months. It is also a time of renewed optimism and hope for the future and an opportunity for us to reflect on what we can do better in our lives in the future. All over the country, crowds are flocking to the self help sections of local book shops, buying every health magazine in the news agents and flicking through the Argos catalogue trying to find the right page for gym equipment.

But why do we both? Every year begins in exactly the same way. For some reason (possibly as a result of alcohol still in our blood from the previous night) we all wake up on New Year's Day and think that because the date has changed and new calendars are going up that somehow we are all going to undergo miraculous changes as people. We are all going to exercise more, eat less, earn more, spend less, treat our loved ones better, wash the car every single weekend and learn to complete the Times CrossWord in less than an hour and without the help of everyone in the room and maybe a sneaky trip to Google.

And you know what, it doesn't happen. The gym equipment is disgarded after the second use and stuck up in the loft a month later. The diet lasts maybe a week if you are commited. First weekend the car gets washed but the next it is raining so you think why bother? Because, whatever we like to think, people don't change; not without a reason. If someone has a near death experience or recovers from serious illness or is visited by four ghosts at Christmas then yea, maybe they will change. Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse, but you can expect them to undergo some kind of alteration, however small.

But not because it is New Year. It simply isn't important enough or infrequent enough an occasion to have any sort of lasting impact on our lives. Instead all that happens is we create resolutions, which - far from being the positive forward thinking things we dress them up as - are in fact just a list of things we don't like about ourselves, disguised as a list of improvements We then fail to find the time/money/will power to implement them and then spend the rest of the year feeling guilty about not being able to go against our natures and transform into new people at the drop of a hat. It really is most silly.

So what is the point of New Year? An excuse to get pissed perhaps? Yea right, like we need an excuse to do that! A much needed celebration then? Hardly, we've just had Christmas, and most people are fairly sick of having to be super happy all day everyday by now. If we wanted a second annual celebration we'd have it in the summer in order to better balance Christmas. Perhaps the point is that New Year isn't actually all that different from its infinately more antisipated big brother. Christmas is about hope, belief and faith, even in the face of stark and harsh reality and maybe, just maybe, the same is true of New Year as well.

Perhaps it doesn't matter that everyone completely fails to live up to their resolutions, and that any new leaves turned over are usually turned back the next day, because in fact what really matters to people is that short period of hope, when they believe that actually they are not doomed to be stuck with all their flaws for the rest of the year, but can genuinely better themselves and get a step or two closer to their own ideas of perfection, whatever that may be.

Last week Dad spent the best part of two days putting up coving in the utility room. Why? Because he felt that it would move this fabulous house a bit closer to being perfect. It didn't matter to him that it was exhausting, dirty, smelly work that took a big chunk out of his holiday. It didn't even matter that almost no one ever goes in there, besides the family and that even if they did, the coving probably wouldn't be noticed, not even if they stood in there all day. It didn't even matter that in the long term it isn't going to make him feel any better or worse about life or his position in it. For those few hours and the next few days he will gain satisfaction from the knowledge that he's done something to improve his life, and that is, after all, what New Year is all about.

Happy New Year

to all my readers, commenters, lurkers, friends and family. May 2007 bring you health, happiness and above all, love.

As you can see, the new theme is at last in place. I know that most of you are probably screaming at your screens just now that the image doesn't fit properly, and for that I apologise. I am working on a way of getting it to fit a variety of screen sizes, but this is surprisingly difficult to do and so may take me a while. Until then you'll just have to lump it I'm afraid and be grateful that the tackiest Christmas theme ever has at last been packed away for the year. Believe me, I'm as pleased about it as you are!

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