Our celebration of the New Year is a peculiar thing. We invest it with all kinds of magic and believe it will somehow change everything.
The coming of a new year gives us the ability to imagine that we can wipe the slate clear and start all over. We arise, full of good intentions and alcohol-induced resolve, to create resolutions and decide on what goals we will pursue.
That’s nonsense, of course. For one thing, life is full of beginnings and endings. Every birth, every death, every graduation, every bar mitzvah, every christening, every wedding, every divorce — all of them represent new beginnings of one sort or another. Beginnings are sprinkled throughout any life, and every one of them offers an opportunity to start all over again in one way or another.
Most of the time, we don’t take advantage of all those opportunities. That’s because of another peculiarity of us peculiar humans. The sad fact of the matter is that we usually lose our enthusiasm for all those new beginnings … fairly quickly, much of the time. Here we are, six days into the new year and its already feeling stale and dishearteningly normal. Never mind verve and resolve. Today was just another hump day, like hundreds we’ve lived through and thousands more that reside in the misty future.