I awake to a new year this morning.
I feel, as I always do, some vague sense that things should be different. That the world outside my window should look fresh. Reborn.
But it never does. Last night’s, yesterday’s issues are still there to be handled, no clearer, no easier, no more manageable. Yesterday’s joys, also, are still as they were.
But I want a fresh start. A slate wiped clean. Tally the score and see how we did, start again and hope to do better.
I look around at my home, my job, my friends, loves, relationships, and I want to be able to say, it’s a new year, put it all aside and work from here. But it’s not so easy, the click-over of one digit does not re-set any counters nor clear any buffers. The load on my shoulders is just as heavy today, 1/1/2005, as it was yesterday, 12/31/2004.
It’s a number someone made up. Today is the beginning of time, someone said, and I call this day one of month one of year one. It’s a system made up years after that date, an imaginary date anyway, a mythological date, the arbitrarily selected date for the birth of a man or a god. The year was a guess, the day was made up.
The first of the year could just as easily be yesterday, or tomorrow. It could be February 9th as in the Chinese calendar.
I look out my window and see a gray sky and a cold day. The same thing I saw yesterday. The same thing, most likely, I will see tomorrow.
We must make our own fresh starts. No resolutions for a new year. No arbitrary date on which we can start anew. No re-sets, no do-over, no mulligan.
Yet, each day is new and one can always say, today, I start over.
Today, one can say, I will be better than I was yesterday.
Today, I can make up for things I’ve done wrong, apologize for mistakes, and try to make a better life for tomorrow.
The future is a long time, or maybe not; gray, shrouded, unknowable. Life can end with little or no notice, earthquake or tsunami, planes crashing, ailments or simple mistakes in judgment. All one can do, like navigators long ago, is look to the stars, the horizon, the primitive tools, and say, there, that way, seems best for me and all as sail with me. Sometimes the choice is wrong; rocks and storms, and to over-work the metaphor, the edge of that flat earth, Here There Be Monsters.
All I can do is look to the sea and sky and chart my best course. Like as not I’ll get us all lost for a bit before I find safe haven, but but also like as not, I won’t steer to the rocks or fall off that edge.