Friday, January 1, 2010


Like many of my fellow human beings, I possess this irrational tendency to project a tempered sense of hope in response to the emergence of a new year. I often awake the first morning of the year with a brief experience of tabula rasa, of starting fresh and thinking the whole world should follow suit as well.

It doesn't take long of course before I catch the next evening news cast and experience the deflating "same shit, different year" perspective in response to some atrocity or another. I often try to avoid the news for a few days following a new year, as such ignorance is indeed bliss, at least for a while.

Of course to think that we can somehow start fresh, disconnected from our own personal nature or human history because of some arbitrary form of time measurement is completely strange and nonsensical on many levels.

I know that on a collective and individual basis, we remain who we are, rooted in the mire of the human condition, which is of course rife with suffering and a stunning lack of imagination at times. The turning of one day, month, year, or decade can't divorce us from this reality.

However misplaced it might be, there is something defiantly beautiful in the act of waking up and thinking for a moment that something, however small, could be different in the coming year. Perhaps it is like some gambler's fallacy deeply rooted in our psyche, allowing us to believe that the odds will eventually work in our favour. Regardless, it is a powerful and necessary force.

In many ways, an unfilled calendar page is a sacred symbol, one that propels us forward with great hope. There is something magical in that brief pause at the start of a new year, before the pages are filled or the script is fully written. We finally untether our imagination and allow it to take flight for a while. The possibilities are intoxicating.

A good way to start any day, really.

(flickr link for photo here)


mellowlee said...

Great post! Wouldn't it be nice if we could start each day so excited about the future? I was chatting with a friend from Florida on NYE and he was so excited about the countdown. He said he was a little sad that I wasn't excited too.(and I'm thinking/ why? what do you have planned that I don't know about? should I be nervous?) I tried to explain to him why I wasn't but I had a hard time doing this without "raining on his parade".
In any case, Happy New Year Dear Friend! I hope this year brings you a lot of joy and fun times for all of us! (word verification = peend HAHAHA..ok, don't know why that is funny to me..perhaps that it is 3:21am and I am loopy)

Liberality said...

Every day we wake up we can decide to do something different from the day before. It is a magic we possess. It's just that at the start of a new year we all focus upon this ability and some of us try to do it. It's a day by day effort I must say and not one I am always successful in doing--but I think it's great that we at least TRY-- don't you think so too?

Allison said...

I've been so wrapped up in the complete mayhem of holiday visiting, etc for the past three weeks, I haven't really had time to sit and ponder any new hopes or wishes for the new year. My calender is already full for the coming month...which is sad but I know there will be moments of downtime and I'll appreciate them all the more, because one thing each passing year teaches me is that time is fleeting.

Happy New Year!

Westcoast Walker said...

Mel - right back at ya - hope this year is grand for you as well - the aspiration of being hopeful each day is indeed a worthy goal!

Liberality - I am always pleased when my fav librarian drops by! I do agree, the effort is what matters - success is hard to measure, though I think the striving is what really counts.

Allison - perhaps a full calendar is a blessing, leaves less time for navel gazing (something I am really proficient at). The fleeting nature of time (or at least our perception of it) is indeed a motivator for me as well - I try to pause once in a while, take a breath, and look around. Not always easy to do, but necessary.