Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Something Old, Something New

So, this is it. 2012. The end. At least according to people with a bad understanding of Mayan cosmology and a stubborn refusal to acknowledge that the modern Mayans don't share this idea of impending doom and gloom just because their ancestors ran the clock out and didn't bother to start a new one. Needless to say, I really don't think 2012 is going to be the last year for all of us.

It being the new year, it is of course traditional to talk about making resolutions and some such. I'm going to buck tradition this year. It's not that I don't have resolutions; it's just that they were the same things I resolved to do a couple of months ago. They are fresh and new for the new year, which is probably for the better seeing as how so few of those self-made promises we all utter at the start of the new year make it past the end of January. That's part of the illusion of this time of year - that we will, somehow, make good on the things we didn't make good on last year.

Of course, New Year's itself is a bit of an illusion. If you're Chinese, the New Year doesn't officially kick in for another month or so, on the traditional calendar. Not to mention that, simply because we've started a new calendar, it's not as if there were great changes from Dec 31 to Jan 1. I got snow here on the 2nd, but aside from that there wasn't much else to mark the transition once you discount the traditional things like champagne and the Rose Bowl parade. It's a month, like any other, and while people go back to work and students go back to school, these are rituals repeated at other times of the year, too.

About the only thing that is new is the attitude and the optimism. We are somehow inclined, despite all past experience to the contrary, to assign the goals we make at this time of year a certain hopefulness. We will accomplish the things we want, this year, no matter how far short we fell last year. Some of us will no doubt do this, though often by taking a different approach from the past years. Sometimes it isn't the resolution but the execution.

I'm not trying to be gloomy here, despite the surprisingly depressive tone I see as I glance back through what I've written so far. I think where I'm going with this is that it doesn't have to be just this time of year when we make the attempt to better ourselves, and that it doesn't have to be doomed to failure. I would suspect that if someone out there has done a study, and they likely have, that resolutions we make to improve ourselves at other times of the year might have a better chance of success. Those are the ones we come to after looking around and assessing what needs to change, rather than just off the cuff promises made over that first sip of the bubbly stuff.

So that's where I'm aiming this new year. Not with brand new things, but with old things, brought forward into the new year with, perhaps, new determination.

That should get me to March, I think.