spiraling towards contentless content
what difference does a year make?
Posted: 2004-01-07 02:18
1 comment(s)
Author: Phil Gengler
Section: Journal

What's the significance of a new year? For many, it's regarded as a time for a new start, as though the beginning of a new year is the beginning of a new life. To that end, people make New Year's resolutions, goals they set for themselves, things they hope to accomplish during the 360+ days before repeating it again on the next Dec. 31.

But what is a year now than just an convenient way of expressing a time? Sure, there are those for whom the length of a year means something, but even for those whose well-being depends on seasonal things (like the weather), this isn't determined by a calendar year. The seasons come and go as they please, with no regard to what we have printed on a calendar somewhere.

And what about those for whom a year is just a convenient way of measuring time? Many seem to have the idea that somehow, the start of a new year is the best place to decide to change something, or to start something, or to stop something. But what makes January 1st a better day than, say, March 25th, or July 17th? It's not as though the passage of another year changes people, or changes situations; the world on December 31st of one year is by and large the same world that emerges on January 1st.

The only thing that the first of January truly represents is the completion of another revolution around the sun. A complete revolution that began at a completely arbitrary point in our orbit. A year is completely arbitrary, just a division of time people find convenient and haven't had any real reason to change.

But this still doesn't answer the question of what makes January 1st so special; what makes it such a 'good' place for a new start, a new way of life. New Years Resolutions are made; things people want to accomplish in the new year. But why wait until January 1st to decide to start something new, or quit something, or change something? Starting something on Jan. 1 isn't going to increase the chance of succeeding just by virtue of it being the first day of a new year, just as starting any other day isn't going to lessen the chance of succeeding by it's not being the first day of a new year. But then, isn't every day the first day of a new year? 366 days from now (it being a leap year and all), it'll be January 7th again, a period of one year; what makes the period of January 1st to December 31st any more special?

As December, and with it the year 2003, started rolling to close, I considered a number of things I might try and do differently in the new year. And then I realized that it wasn't going to help anything to force something to start on a certain date; some things will happen when they happen, you can't force them, no matter how much you want to. I can't even guarantee that the things I want to do will be done in the 366 days before the next January 1st. So why should I try and predict things beyond my control, and instead just set general goals whenever I feel like it, to accomplish when an opportunity arises?

Take this new year and shove it.


» a lot
Posted: 2004-02-07 23:16:39
Author: j

one year apparently means updating or not updating..  write about boston!

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