I’ve never really gotten the big fuss over the New Year. I’ve always found it a bit overrated, thinking it amounted to little more than an excuse for a party and a few awkward weeks of writing the wrong date. I think part of me has resisted the fanfare of the New Year (even the fact that it is worthy of capitalization is notably arrogant) because I equated it with, “How have you measured up and what do you need to change about yourself for next year?” My own thought patterns certainly took me to this place, and I wanted nothing to do with it. Let me just change the calendar quietly and move on.
So it is interesting that this year I find myself moved by the change to a new year. I’m not sure why, exactly, but it feels significant (not good or bad, just significant). I just came from the beach, where someone before me had spelled out “2014” in rocks. Someone else had written “Happy New Year” into the sand. It struck me that as humans, we all have a need to say, “I am here.” And the change to a new year – and whatever rituals we associate with it – are a chance to say, “I made it. And now I get a fresh start.”
So rather than seeing the new year as an arbitrary self-improvement project, I’m reframing it. May I celebrate 2013 for the moments of joy, laughter, friendship, love and adventure it offered. May I also celebrate it for the moments of sadness and fear that pushed me to learn more about myself and others. And as we enter into 2014, my wish for me and for you is the same – may we experience and celebrate our place in the world, may we learn more about ourselves, may we let go of one thing that is holding us back and take a leap or a jump or a baby step forward, and may we connect with others who remind us that we matter. Because we do. Here’s to exploring 2014 together.