Dec 31, 2009
Happy New Year :o)
A Time of Rebirth
Because the Winter Solstice is the turning point of the year, beginning the lengthening of days, it has long been viewed as the birth of the year--by pagans celebrating the return of the Sun, and by Christians welcoming the birth of the Son of God. Other cultures (Hindu, Chinese, Celtic) also viewed this as a time for reversing order and rules-celebrants would change roles with servants or dress in costumes for a time until order was restored.
While each culture's New Year celebration has its own flavor, there are certain common themes. The period leading up to New Year's Day is a time for setting things straight: a thorough housecleaning, paying off debts, returning borrowed objects, reflecting on one's shortcomings, mending quarrels, giving alms. In many cultures, people jump into the sea or a local body of water-literally washing the slate clean.
The American custom of spending the night with the one you love and kissing them at midnight insures that the relationship will flourish during the coming year. I personally like this interpretation :o)
Every New Year's Eve millions of Americans make New Year's resolutions. Whether the resolution is to get out of debt, to spend more time with loved ones, or to quit smoking, these resolutions have one thing in common: they are goals to make our lives better.
Unfortunately, this ritual commitment to self-improvement is widely viewed as something of a joke--in part because New Year's resolutions go so notoriously unmet. Making New Year's resolutions does not have to be futile--and to make them is not silly; done seriously, it is an act of profound moral significance that embodies the essence of a life well-lived.
Consider what we do when we make a New Year's resolution: we look at where we are in some area of life, think about where we want to be, and then set ourselves a goal to get there. To make a New Year's resolution is to recognize the undeniable reality that successful goal-pursuit is possible. Indeed, not only is it possible to achieve long-range goals, to get what we want in our lives, we must consciously choose and achieve the right goals.
This New Year's, resolve to think about how to make your life better, not just once a year, but every day. Resolve to set goals, not just in one or two aspects of life, but in every important aspect and in your life as a whole.
I say, take your happiness seriously.