In general, I regard holidays, birthdays, and other “occasions of note” with apathy and a degree of disdain. The only reason I don’t openly despise them is because they often mean a day (or more) off school, good food, and the company of people I love. (On the other hand, they can also entail the company of people I love…less. But it comes with the territory).
New Year’s is one of the worst offenders, though. First of all, it’s a totally arbitrary date on the Gregorian calendar (and most Western societies). Actually, it’s pretty arbitrary on any calendar–even on lunar-based cycles. Secondly, all the hooplah surrounding New Year’s seems unnecessary. Yes, I recognize that you think fireworks are pretty and you think that being drunk is fun, but is it necessary to impose your revelry on me? And you can get drunk (or light fireworks…though not necessarily legally) any other day of the year. Third, last, and perhaps most important, I don’t see the point of all the optimism about the new year. People make resolutions; in the next twelve months, people break resolutions. People hope that the economy will improve, that wars will end, that they will find true love; in the next twelve months, the economy navigates its own labyrinthine path, the horrors of war continue, relationships are made and shattered. People say the new year is a fresh start; really, it’s just the continuation of an (almost) eternal cycle of causes and effects, causes and effects, causes and effects.
On January 1 of last year (well, technically still this year), my coach sent me an email saying something to the effect of, “Way to go! Top 5 finish today… 2011 is your year.” (Yes, I know, I really need to delete my deleted messages folder. Here’s to another never-to-be-fulfilled New Year’s resolution.) But could that be further from the truth? I haven’t run as fast as I did last January 1 since then (I’m hoping, sort of, for a repeat performance tomorrow. We’ll see if that happens.)–and it wasn’t even that fast. I was (we were) hoping for a strong track season, some sort of growth in faith, a great senior season of cross country, an awesome senior year. None of those really happened. Or did they?
Sure, I didn’t race the way I wanted to at state track (or, honestly, for most of the season), but I won my district (Ha. Ha. Ha. Don’t ask how many people were in the race. Hint: I could count them on my fingers.) and made it to state. I thought I wanted to be (and could become) “closer to God”, but now I’m not even sure what that means or what I want, much less how to get there–yet, I’ve had supportive, if not totally understanding, people come along side me every step of the way. Cross country season turned into a massive failure, but I had the support of the best team I could ever imagine, and I finished strong (though not fast) at state. This academic year has been a nightmare compared to last year (even though I’m taking fewer hard courses–or perhaps because of that), but I’m actually developing one or two strong friendships at school and am really starting to appreciate some of the courses I am taking/have taken.
So maybe it is (was) my year, after all.
Rarely do I see hope in the future. I just don’t see man or the world “improving” as people delude themselves into believing. Yet, even in the darkest moments, I can see some good, if only in the past. So perhaps, then, we should celebrate not the coming of a new year, but the culmination of the old year–and not because we’re sick and tired of it and want to see it gone (though that is likely true as well). Look back, beyond the suffering and the hurt, the sadness and the harm, and there must be some good in 2011. Celebrate that tonight. You can go back to bemoaning the state of the world with me tomorrow.
And, my latest resolution: use fewer parentheticals! (This one might even be achievable. Might.)