New Years Eve
A measurement of time is fairly objective but the choice of which measurements by which we count time is arbitrary. Our perspective won’t actually change how long it takes for the earth to revolve around the sun yet we choose what meaning to give a particular solar revolution.
The decision as to when a new revolution starts was also arbitrary. As individuals we buy into the cultural doctrine of the New Year not only because we need to agree what dates are written on our checks (as if you will get the year correct for the first five weeks anyway) but because for many of us marking time is a means to achieve closure. That we’re turning a page when the clock strikes midnight is not only ridiculous but it invites a sense of false hope. We want to believe that this is the date where a New You begins. We desire that our current self quickly becomes our past self.
Even I fall into the temptation of saying “2019 is a crappy year and I cannot wait for it to be over” and I’m wrong to say that, let alone think that.
Our physical bodies tell us that each day is not a mere artificial construct but a cycle of renewal, growth, consciousness and regeneration. Most of us are active during the time of daylight and then lay dormant to recharge our bodies and our minds while the sun is below the horizon. Our bodies are constructed to do this; this cycle itself is not arbitrary. Then we decided to mark time from birth until death and keep appropriate records.
That we keep track of years for the purposes of historical record and even for our health is logical and I can’t even tell you when we started either practice. Thank God that we do. Associating special meaning as if our circumstances will differ or end as a result of the changing of our wall calendars is just asinine. What starts as a blithe attempt at humor becomes a temptation to disproportionately believe your situation is dependent on Current Year. It also lends weight to the toxic notion that we ought to wait until the digits change on our phone screen before we take action to improve our own lives.
We want to take this day to celebrate the passage of the old year because at midnight we see the coming of the New. The New Year already began several times over on this planet. From the moment it became December 31, 2019 in the United States it was already the first second of 2020 on the other side of the world. You wouldn’t know that because you’re only thinking about yourself. That’s something to work on next year.
One writes this at the risk of sounding like the boorish Neil deGrasse Tyson. Someone must accept the risk in order to save people from themselves. As usual the burden for such difficulties is mine.