New Year’s Eve
Today is the eve of a new year. We, together, say goodbye to the previous 12 months we have decidedly named one year. We measure time in years, months, hours, minutes and less. How do we measure that time spent? Is there a way to measure your moments, your events, your worth? Some will say that it’s just another year and there is no difference for them. This is understandable, yet something has changed somewhere and we must all admit this fact. Once we were children, once we were single, once we were not mothers or fathers, perhaps we were once ill, or once healthy. There are those who measure time based on the moments of their lives such as these. They say things like “the time I was a kid” or “the time my children were young” or “the time I was without a job”. Such events do not tie neatly into the span of one calendar year and therefore we have individual milestones throughout our lives. This sometimes hinders people from enjoying or celebrating the beginning of a new year. It is understandable to feel annoyance towards those who party (and possibly go nuts) for what seems to be an unreasonable event.
Fortunately for me, my grandmother was born and raised in Scotland and the New Year is an important time for them historically. Add to that my wild imagination and high-speed train of thought, and naturally, I have much to reflect upon this time of year. Without going into a history lesson of Scottish tradition, I will go back even further to the Vikings to whom the celebration origins are credited. Winter Solstice was an important time of year, not just in Viking culture, but for many ancient humans around the globe. The Northern and Southern Hemispheres celebrated opposite times of the year but acknowledged the changes regardless. Either way, prehistoric humans recognized the exact moment between seasons and their lives depended on what they could gain from the earth and her cycles.
We no longer depend as much on seasons to bring us good hunts, or big harvests, and we no longer face months of darkness that may put our lives in peril wondering who will survive to the springtime. Yet the earth still has its longest days and longest nights still has its way to measure time for anyone paying attention. I imagine there are still a few indigenous groups of people around the globe with their own celebratory times that do not coincide with our more modern New Year, but for the most part, humans around the globe will be observing this holiday in some way. Every nation, every city, every town will have their own way of doing so.
It becomes easy to forget what we are celebrating when everyone around us is focused on the how. How to celebrate is always a big issue. Those without fantastic plans become depressed. It’s easy to do. May I suggest celebrating survival. Centuries of humans have celebrated survival through their toughest seasons. They lived with such uncertainty in such impossible environments it is sometimes amazing the human race has survived. Today, a large portion of the globe may worry about money, or romance or loneliness, others worry about their war-torn home, their deceased and diseased siblings, or perhaps a corrupt nation with an unknown and frightening future. This is not a contest to see who has had the worst life, it is a battle cry. Whatever you are battling, or whatever you have conquered in life, it is worth celebrating. You are not alone, the world together marks this time of year, the world together observes this change in time, the world together laments over whether or not their year has been a good one and whether or not the next will be better. I have no idea. No one can honestly say.
The point is, we have made it this far. We have a moment to sweep out the dust of previous battles or nonsense and start again. It may not be a relaxing time off, it may just be a breath between blows. It may not be a big change in the life you lead, but let it be a change in you. None of this “new year new me” nonsense, that implies that the old you was no good and let’s not forget the old you has brought you this far, however far that is. New Year’s Eve is not a reset button, it’s a battle cry. So whether or not you have Viking blood in you that drives you towards a fight with bravery and defiance, your ancestors were more than likely brave enough to face the uncertainty of their future with each change of season.
I wish to you, the joy to see your past with pride, and the courage to face your future. And know that the globe is celebrating with you.
Happy New Year.