Musing Upon the New Year

“Nothing in the world is permanent, and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we’re still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it. If change is of the essence of existence one would have thought it only sensible to make it the premise of our philosophy.” W. Somerset Maugham, The Razor’s Edge, 1943

I’m not one for celebrating New Years. I never have. As far as I’m concerned, any day is as good as the next for noting change and acknowledging the “best of”.

Where I live, New Years comes in the dead of winter. There’s no huge seasonal change due for months, we’re pretty much in the middle of a school/work year and daylight is in high demand. The only thing changing is the number on the calendar.

Spring seems to be more of a time for transformation. An awakening. When the inert thaws and life begins to manifest itself. Newness. Restoration. Rebirth. It surrounds us to the point of almost comic obviousness. Pussy willows. Ducklings. Crocuses.

Or fall. A full rotation. When I was young it meant new binders and pencils, new corduroy pants and sweaters. New piano music at a grade higher. New teachers and classmates. You had the summer to recoup from the year and now it was time to start anew. Being a teacher, I experience the same newness in the beginning of the school year, far more than at the onset of the month of January.

As Somerset Maugham says we should “delight in it while we have it” and not wait until the changing of a season to appreciate the life that we are living now.

Wow, wouldn’t this philosophy just turf all our resolutions to the curbside. No more “oh, I’ll wait until the new year, then I’ll get organized/fit/quit smoking (insert own good intention here _____________)”. It would offer us no excuses for putting off what we could accomplish now.

Not to say a celebration of what “was” isn’t in order once in a while and if it takes a formal holiday for us to acknowledge what was good or appreciate the people who have made our year what it was then absolutely buy some bubbly and toast to “auld lang syne”.

You just don’t have to wait until December 31 to do so!


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