I find myself facing another New Year’s Eve with the same curiosity I have always had. What is it about New Year’s that everyone finds so significant. Is New Year’s Eve any different than any other eve? Is there any real significance about January 1 that is not also true about January 2 and the other 364 evenings and mornings we face? Moreover, what is about New Year’s Eve that incites people all over the globe to drink more, smoke more and party more than any other night? Is it just a much needed and universally accepted excuse to get drunk and act a fool? Is it something more insidious reminding us of our mortality and magnified beyond our birthday by the shared angst of the global population on a single day?
On a morning run, I was struck by the overt friendliness that affects everyone this time of year. The same people I pass on the street the rest of the year without a glance now bubble out of themselves with warm wishes for a happy New Year. It is the same with clerks at the store, neighbors silent the rest of the year and acquaintances we hear from only on the precipice of a dawning annum. Why so friendly and optimistic today? Why not so every day? Why is it so easy (or so expected) on this day? How would the world be different if we all treated every day like the fresh start it is?
Then there is the annual tradition of resolutions to be better people – better shape, better health, better relationships better business, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters. As though this one special night is the only shot we have all year. A special ‘open enrollment’ for deciding to be better. Be careful how you choose, you are stuck with your decisions until next Dec 31.