The new year, an ending and a beginning. Or is it? Why is it we believe this day, in particular, brings the opportunity for a fresh start? I know little about the origins of the Gregorian calendar, but I assume it is linked to the change in seasons. Why, then, is winter solstice -- when daylight begins to grow again -- not the day the world turns over and begins anew? Or, even better, the spring equinox -- much more symbolic of rebirth?
I don't know. I just know that it's always refreshing, the idea of starting over, and so why not now?
Quote of the day, and every day (thanks to he who shared it with me!):
"Every day you must say to yourself, 'Today I am going to begin.'" -- Jean Pierre de Caussade
Or a wordier version, a constant reminder posted throughout my snowbound little house:
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” -- Emerson
Today has been spent, after saying goodbye to last night's last guest, in solitude -- the welcome kind. I have picked up the detritus of last night's gathering. I have washed dishes (another fresh start, like the promise of a new year or a blank sheet of paper). Laundry (if not a fresh start, at least a fresh-smelling one). I have napped (oh, the decadence of a midafternoon nap when one has already slept well!). I have stood in the window, examining in detail the tangled blanket of snow draped over my backyard. I have repaid the relative who dared to break the new year's silence by calling at an ungodly 10:30 a.m., by returning his call during "the" game. (Apparently, "we" are losing.) I have read with the abandon of a day that brings no obligations. I have stared into space. A day well spent.
The New York Times website today has a couple of op-ed pieces on new year's resolutions. One citing two types of resolutions: "those that are reasonable, and those that are not." The supreme example of the type that is not reasonable: the resolution to be happy. Yet isn't that the reason behind any resolution, behind any human drive? First, to survive; then, to be ... well, if not happy, at least content. Yet we can't will ourselves so; "happiness has a knack for indirection, coming in the middle of the most ordinary day or disappearing at the height of one’s career. It is a matter of luck, almost of grace, a visitor who enters the house unexpectedly and vanishes on tiptoe."
I was joking, last week, about making a certain resolution -- something I rarely do, at least not linked to January 1 -- and a friend asked why I would set myself up for disappointment, suggesting that's exactly what resolutions do. It's a good point.
Maybe not resolutions, then, so much as a "wish list" of things I could and can give myself:
I wish to be kinder to myself, more forgiving. I wish to be healthier, in the foods I ingest, the physical activities I undertake, in the people I share my time with and the outlook I adopt. I wish to stop looking backward, and I think I am finally ready. I especially wish to let go of the time-wasters so easily succumbed to in daily life, and give myself up to what I really want to do in the moment -- whether it's to write more or to meditate or to simply lie here and *be*.
And yes, maybe it's too big, but I wish to find what I'm looking for out of life, or at least the next incarnation, and I'm not afraid to say that of *course* I'm iso happiness, wherever it may pop up, in moments large or small. Plenty of reasons to be optimistic, I think.
Don't know why I feel compelled to start another blog. Why does anyone? What could anyone have to say that hasn't been said, and who do we hope will hear it? It seems I remember someone saying that each writer is writing only for a future him/herself ... or maybe that was just something I told myself.
I had good reasons for abandoning the last one, and I'm leery of my abilities to resist temptation in avoiding those old pitfalls. Maybe this is a test of strength ... or maybe one of priorities.
Or maybe I am just like all of the other billions searching for a voice, yearning to be heard, for to be heard is to be acknowledged, and perhaps even understood.
This time of year, with its long, slow, dark evenings, and especially now under a heavy white drapery that forces us to slow down, gives us time to think. Not such a bad time for new beginnings.