karen meisner (_stranger_here) wrote,
karen meisner


The Earth spins around the sun; that's real. But the date we celebrate as the beginning of the cycle is pretty arbitrary. In the Gregorian calendar, a new year begins on January 1st. In the Hebrew calendar, the Jewish New Year, a holiday I love, begins sometime in the fall. Chinese New Year, a gazillion other New Years, fall on different dates. There's nothing innately special about January first. We just decide to think of it as a moment of renewal.

And that's what makes it interesting. The magic isn't coming from some celestial notch marked in the Earth's orbit, where if you accidentally miss the spot, you have to idle in neutral for another twelve months until it comes around again and you get your chance to start fresh. Any point along that orbital circuit can be seen as the first day of a yearly cycle. The magic is in us, in our power to see life as having new beginnings, opportunities for change and improvement. I'm pretty sure that choosing to believe (and acting on the belief) makes it so.

I went to bed last night with a sore hip and woke up in pain today. My body did not miraculously heal overnight to start the year off fresh. My bad habits weren't erased, my flaws didn't disappear, my complicated relationships didn't untangle into immaculate beginnings, my slate is not wiped clean. Today isn't really a "first day" for any ongoing stuff; it's the day after yesterday. I carry with me all my history: everything leads up to this day. And it's just like any other day.

Like any other day. That's kind of exciting, though, isn't it? Any day can begin a new year. Any day can be the start of change, the chance to take a first step on a new path. Why not this one?

I have lots of resolutions for the months to come, ranging from lofty to mundane. Practical plans and idealistic dreams, sometimes both at once. Bringing the best of myself to everything I do, turning potential to kinetic. Starting my own business, getting that big writing project done. Going on adventures, exploring more of the world. Finding better ways to stir parenthood into the rest of my life. Grace. Strength. Kindness. Reducing my credit card debt.

Right now many things seem possible; we'll see how it goes. 2006 for me has been a year of revolution and standstill, triumphs and frustrations, beauty and loss, delight and sadness. I can't expect the universe to hand me nothing but frosted cupcakes in 2007, but whatever life chucks at me, I hope I can navigate a path through it all that will allow me to look back, a year from now, and say I did well. And along the way, I intend to have a damn good time.

Resolved. Happy new year to you all, and happy travels.
Tags: life
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