Happy New Year!
"Wait a minute," you're probably saying, "it's February. You're way off."
Yes, I am. And no, I'm not.
The designation of January 1st as New Year's Day is a completely arbitrary pick. It's not tied to a lunar cycle, like some Asian countries observe, and it's not really tied to a solar calendar with clearly defined checkpoints like an equinox or a solstice. It's all Caesar's doing.
As History.com tells us...
Soon after becoming Roman dictator, Julius Caesar decided that the traditional Roman calendar was in dire need of reform. Introduced around the seventh century B.C., the Roman calendar attempted to follow the lunar cycle but frequently fell out of phase with the seasons and had to be corrected. In addition, the pontifices, the Roman body charged with overseeing the calendar, often abused its authority by adding days to extend political terms or interfere with elections.
In designing his new calendar, Caesar enlisted the aid of Sosigenes, an Alexandrian astronomer, who advised him to do away with the lunar cycle entirely and follow the solar year, as did the Egyptians. The year was calculated to be 365 and 1/4 days, and Caesar added 67 days to 45 B.C., making 46 B.C. begin on January 1, rather than in March. He also decreed that every four years a day be added to February, thus theoretically keeping his calendar from falling out of step.
While this format was not 100% perfect, it managed to endure 1500 years before it's last major revision.
Every so often, the time comes to change into a new person... much like the Doctor from Doctor Who. For the 8 of you who don't know, the show's producers needed to solve the real world problem of the lead actor becoming too old to star in the title role, so the in-story answer was to replace him via "regeneration." The Doctor would change and become a new person. New face, new hair style, new attitude (and now... new gender), but the Doctor would still be, at his core, the same individual. Same ghost, different shell. It's still the Doctor.
(yes, I totally weaved two different nerd references together and it totally worked. Hold on, I'm still mid-ramble)
Let's leave fantasy and science fiction behind to talk about you. For a healthy majority of you out there, you look to the New Year to be the time when you undertake your own regeneration into a new person. "New Year, New Me," and all that. Resolutions are made. Hope springs eternal.
But life, as it does, tends to get in the way of your plans. Resolutions made for the start of the year don't usually last. Over 90% of them usually fail within the first 2 months (figures may change depending on what study you're reading, but consider my numbers as a rough average). The New You that was hoped for, ends up looking like last year's model (or maybe the 2010 model). Satisfactory enough, but improvements were wanted. In some cases, improvement and repair may actually be needed.
The most disheartening part of all this is that people who struggle with trying to change themselves for the better end up, more or less, on hold and wait until next year, or worse, they abandon the idea they can change at all. This is some negative thinking that we all need to throw in a ditch.
So you struggled with the latest resolution because it was still the holiday break, or you're recovering from a virus that did two laps around your family, or there were 10 inches of snow outside. I get it. I totally get it.
What you, me, everyone should be doing is picking a new date to start from and try again. It's doesn't matter which date. Just pick some arbitrary date and go.
(who's picking up what I'm laying down)
Yes, we're in February, but you still have time, and a chance to improve yourself if you want to. If you want to renew or reinvent yourself, the only person that will still be playing that role is you. Peter Capaldi and Jodie Whittaker are not going to be walking through your front door to start playing the part of you, in the new season of your life. It's all you.
Let's pause to state the obvious: this is all easier said that done. I understand that, and it's ok to say that aloud. We can be optimistic and realistic at the same time. And this whole blog post may come across as just a rah-rah puff piece, with no real substance. And that's ok, too.
Maybe... just maybe, it's perfectly ok to start with just a small seed of inspiration like this article. You don't need some master plan or detailed checklist for change and improvement. You can start with a simple, "I AM going to do this, starting (insert your arbitrarily picked date here)." And if something pops up, you can pick a new date. Or another. Or another.
If you to peel away all the weird sci-fi references and odd motivationals from this piece, you'll hopefully come away with one singular idea: Don't give up. You can always start over. Always.
Pick a new date, maybe like a month or so after January 1st, to get your new year and new you started. Maybe like today? Happy New Year!
Thanks for visiting. Love, Demosthenes Spiropoulos