By the time most of you read this, it will already be the year 2012... the year of the “End of the World”, if you believe the interpretation of the Mayan calendars.
This is not to be confused with the “End of the World” prophesized by wacky Californian radio preachers, long deceased French doctors, or Michael Stipe.
You have undoubtedly sat through all of the “End of Year” compendiums of all the important occurring events, terminally inconvenienced famous people, and cute news stories and are now sitting down to read the future as projected by those hard news tabloids placed adjacent to the supermarket checkout lanes... you know, the ones that say that “The Incredible Frogboy is On the Move Again!”
New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are days that society regards as holidays. Like most holidays, they are rather arbitrarily placed upon the calendar, other than Eve must obviously proceed Day. I don’t know that there’s anything magical or mystical about December 31 or January 1.
People tend to attribute a sort of magical quality toward this two day stretch, or at least there’s a common hope attached to it. Somehow, crossing over the new year will right all the wrongs of the year before, make them lose weight, quit smoking or drinking, start eating less processed cheese, insert-your-own-life-altering-event-here. People seem to like closure and want a new beginning.
I remember that when I was a wee lad, I stayed up all night to watch the ball drop in Times Square and watched the crowd go absolutely bonkers when the new year lit up on the ball. One hour later, when my digital calculator watch blinked over to the next year, I noticed something. I didn’t feel any different. I wasn’t any taller, any faster, any, well, anything other than I had been scant seconds before. Where was this magical and mystical event that was causing the hysteria in New York City?
I came to the conclusion that the reason people got together in that big crowd was to feed off each other’s need for closure and a new beginning. (Well, that and alcohol.) I don’t think that’s their actual thought process, but perhaps subconsciously that’s a part of the decision.
In these crowds, in Times Square or some non-descript party, a lot of people feel compelled to tell others their New Year Resolutions.
Sometimes, you learn the painfully obvious... the overweight guy wants to lose weight, the chain smoker wants to stop smoking, and the politician wants to stop lying. Sometimes, you learn something horrifyingly personal about someone that you never, ever wanted to know in a million years. (Not going to go into detail because I’m still trying to scrub that knowledge from MY brain, no sense passing it on to you, dear reader.)
I’ve also never been a big “New Year’s Resolution” guy. Again, I get the whole “new year, new beginning” philosophy Maybe I’m just not enough of a romantic or have too much Spock in my genes.
It seems to me that if you want to make a life-altering change, one sufficient enough that you make a declarative, calendar-based statement, you should do it at the moment the decision is made, not waiting days, weeks, or months for an arbitrarily set day. Last time I checked, none of us were guaranteed any moments beyond the current one that we occupy. If you need to make that change, start…right…now.
The New Year does actually bring one significant change. It commences a period noted 30 years ago by comedian Rich Hall as “Checkuary”. This is the period one spends writing checks with the prior year on them before you become acclimated to the new year.
Beyond that, change is what and change is when you make it.
And that’s the view from the old, steel drafting table.