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.
It was the summation of these observations and the attendant silliness of it all that lead me to my idea of ‘New Days Eve’. It is the realization that, in fact, there is no difference for any of us between December 31 and March 12 or any other date. From a philosophical standpoint, there is no tangible future or past. Only today and in truth only this moment. Who we are, what we do, how happy, successful or joyful; all are based on the actions we take in this moment. Why make a resolution to be a better person ‘next year’ when we can decide to be better right now – the only time you can actually do it.
The purpose of this site is to foster a conversation about the significance of each day. I am not arguing that we should not celebrate New Year’s or any other special day. I think celebrations are fantastic and key to enjoying life. I am not really arguing anything, only suggesting we all be better served by recreating some fraction of the deliberation and celebration we put into December 31 into every night. The calendar (and some may argue time itself) is an arbitrary measurement of something in itself is beyond human comprehension. If this be true, why should we overweight one random day and lose ourselves in the details of the rest of our life. Why not take 5 minutes every night (or 10 or 60) to think about the coming day? All the motivational, self-improvement, spiritual and philosophical reading I have done all agree that anything can be accomplished in small steps and nothing can be accomplished in giant leaps. To me, New Year’s represents the wish for the giant leap – taking life and change one year at a time.
I believe there are several reasons for this and look forward to hearing other’s opinions and ideas on why this is. My belief is it comes down to perceived effort. Looking at the year to come is ephemeral – nothing you can sense and no way to act. There is no exertion in acting tomorrow. Going to the gym or starting your diet tomorrow is infinitely easier than getting in your car or putting down the chocolate now. Now is action, tomorrow is thought; thought is free action is not.