Monday, January 3, 2011

Not So New Year

It's funny, even though I've been out of school for going on ten years at this point, I still have trouble embracing January as the beginning of a new year. In my mind September is still when things refresh and a new cycle starts, no doubt because that was how life was organized throughout my childhood.

There was always back to school shopping in August, awkward first days of class in September, a headlong plunge toward Christmas, when the semester would end and the year was half over. Only half over. I looked forward to the gifts and vacation I associated with the official year's end, sure, but I dreaded New Year's Day itself, because its arrival meant it was time to go back to school.

After the holidays, the months between January and June became a downward slide toward summer vacation, the true year's end--a time to relax and recharge before it all started up again. I got so ingrained in this pattern in my formative years that I haven't been able to shake it in the years since. I even still buy student calendars that run August to August, so as not to disrupt my system by switching "mid-year."

By all appearances, I celebrate the January 1 New Year along with everyone else. I watch the ball drop at midnight, drink sparkling-cider toasts and make resolutions that I have varying degrees of success at keeping. I wish people a Happy New Year. Yet, there remains a little childish part of me that stamps its foot and whines "but it's not really new year, you know."

In a desperate attempt to finally grow up, I've tried using traditional calendars repeatedly. (It didn't take.) I've made grand, sweeping resolutions in an effort to more significantly mark the change...but that usually leads to quick, plunking failure.

Now, when the New Year comes, I simply smile and nod and think about the Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) celebration I attended back in the early fall. I think they're onto something...

Have you embraced the New Year?

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