Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy New Year, Today and Everyday!

Happy New Year!! No, I have not completely lost my marbles; it is a new year today, as it is every day. Why fall into the lemming line and have to go with Jan 1 as being the “new year”? All the good resolutions are taken and after the hangover wears off, nobody remembers what was resolved in the first place.

As a former teacher, my “year” always feels like it begins in September and ends in June. Those wonderful 3 paid months off (which exists only in fantasy land for those who teach) are spent basking in the sun eating bon-bons and telling stories out of school about who had the hardest hooligan. A nine month “year” works for pregnancies too. The extra 3 months are spent in a fog of sleeplessness so they don’t count.

Early years of marriage are counted by anniversaries with each being a “new year”. Those who go through rehab may consider a date of sobriety as being the benchmark of a “new year”. People blessed with the gift of life via an organ donor may consider their surgical date as a “new year” milestone. My point is that any date, any time, is a good time to reevaluate those requisite resolutions and start over if they are not working. For artists, the “new year” moment may be when we discover a new media or a new direction for our work. The possibilities suddenly become endless and a year is not enough time to explore them all.

There are “fashion years” as in this “this is the year of the leopard print”, which never seems to make it past one season, and there are Chinese new year’s which make no sense to me but I like to find my animal on the placemat each time. We have dog years and leap years, good vintage years, and bad investment years, but no matter what label is given, none ever add up to 365 days exactly, except for my favorite form of measurement.

The best “new year” to me begins on a birthday as the starting point of fresh ideas and better living. Friends and family remind you of that date whether you like it or not. We get cake, we make wishes on candles and we receive new things into our lives. All the good resolutions still apply, like eat better (after the cake is all gone of course), save money, exercise…you know the top contenders on the list, most of which don’t make it past the following week. And that is why every day can be your “new year”. If one falls off the wagon so to speak, just pick another event to kick off the resolution game and start over. The event does not have to be major, it could be as boring as switching the brand of detergent one uses. Any excuse will do if our personal expectations for resolutions are not met. Jan 1 is for those who need the peer pressure component or resolution righteousness. Meanwhile, I had a passing thought about those lemmings……some of them must be pretty smart and stay back in the burrow making more lemmings. We never seem to run out of them. If all their friends are jumping off a cliff and lemmings are the quintessential peer pressure rodent, we should be out of lemmings by now. But no….they keep coming so either the cliff is not all that high and the little buggers are bouncing off and going back for more, or a few are smart enough to say “hold it, I made a resolution to not always be first in line so have fun kids….I’ll be right back here in the burrow building up the next batch of bungee babies!”

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