IN a famous New Year’s Day column, American newspaperman Westbrook Pegler repeated the same sentence 50 times: “I will never mix gin, beer and whiskey again’’.
His resolution of course did not last. But Pegler knew it wouldn’t. He thought New Year resolutions were silly and noted that they usually “go in one year and out the other’’..
Another famed writer, Mark Twain, said New Year was “the accepted time’’ to make annual good intentions.
“The next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual,’’ he said.
“Thirty days from now, we shall have cast reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever. We shall also reflect pleasantly upon how we did the same old thing last year about this time.’’
Depending on your relative view, it is the end of the year or the start of the new one. How did it all happen so quickly? Does it really matter?
As one wit noticed on the Net, an optimist will stay up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist will stay up to make sure the old year leaves.
Some things will change automatically. Our cars have depreciated in value and our clothes have become “last season’s’’.
But today will be pretty much like any other day. There will be no pause in the relentless march of the universe. No blasts of celestial trumpets.
Why then is it so important? Why do some people experience this change with pain? Because they do not want to break with the past?
Why so others face it with folly, blurring the mind with sedatives to make the world palatable?
Sociologists say we are often prepared to opt for instant gratification even when we know that something better can just as certainly be attained later.
It is a human defence mechanism because we can not ever really know the future and that can be frightening. So we sometimes drift towards disobedience and call it freedom and drift towards superstition and call it faith.
We laugh and toast each other at midnight and fearfully hope, rather than trust, that things will be ok.
This new year will bring love to some, despair to others and, hopefully, enlightenment to many.
As writer Gita Bellin said, everyone finds their own doorway to walk through at this time.
“Each doorway will bring you into a new space of being,’’ she said. “As you create new spaces to walk into, stand a moment in the doorway and review the scene behind you.
“Then turn and for a moment be awe-inspired with the wonder of the new space you have created to play in.
“At least give yourself that moment.’’
Writer Eileen Caddy once advised those facing a new year to “stop freewheeling’’.
“Get into gear and do something with your life,’’ she said. “Do it fearlessly, always expecting the very best.’’
King Solomon said for everything there was a season. A time for every purpose under heaven. You just have to be aware of when the time is right to grasp the opportunities.
Perhaps it’s today that we can be open to our dreams. Perhaps we can, for once, put our faith in that which cannot be easily explained.
Whatever, we have to let go.
Standing between old and new years, between what has been and what could be, we can form resolutions for the future in a spirit of possibility and potential rather than making this time a cliche. We can embrace the distant shore.
The new year could the time to claim all you’ve dreamt about but didn’t dare to do. Whatever, it’s your next chance at the art of living.
Happy New Year.